Identify groups of people resources to effect this goal.
A key skill for PMs is managing the key delivery resource – the people. Although highly obvious, this skill is often downplayed as regressive politics or burdensome bureaucracy, more lovingly known as the sentient art of cat herding, and as such it is repressively limited to the subconscious and not allowed to develop and permeate into the active consciousness of most PMs.
With 17 years in the process-intensive world of consultancy in the portfolio, program, process, PMO and projects realms as well as two years as a contractor-consultant, I have had the honor of meeting and working with highly experienced and senior PMs that are far smarter than me and better at leveraging their experiences. However, I couldn’t help but notice the general lack of acceptance of this key skill – managing people – by most PMs.
- Fact: Undoubtedly, people resource management is the key constraint and a critical success factor of all projects. PMs in all industries are well aware that project management has been/is/will be interpreted as people management. However, for most PMs, the people management skill is undeveloped, crude or simply defined negatively as manipulation.
- Fact: A PM has to manage, communicate with and connect with project resources during the entire project duration and get them involved completing project activities and moving the project forward. The project’s success lies in the hands of these valued resources and on how responsibly and effectively they execute tasks/project activities they are assigned to, as well as how well they interact with each other.
- Key: To ensure the project’s success, the PM’s strongest leverage is to ensure effective collaboration, rapport and good will with all individuals on the project and ensure they are working effectively and efficiently to deliver on their assigned tasks.
- Key: An effective PM should be clear and thorough on his project sciences of methodologies, processes, metrics and tools, as well as the project art of a people manager, mitigator, resolution expert, trusted advisor, motivator and importantly an influencing leader. In a nutshell: a very wary king-maker but nary ever a king.
The resources necessary to accomplish this skill can be identified into several categories:
- The Relationship Builders: They understand that relationships are needed to get things done within the organization. They know that you can’t influence others and get others to support your ideas unless you have first built relationships with them.
- The Organizational Savvy: These are the veritably astute bureaucrats. They know how the organization works – why things happen and how decisions and work gets done. They know the ins and outs of the organization – the formal and informal processes as well as who the true decision makers are that are getting things done.
- The Team Players: These are risk averse, dependent, collaborative types that work well within a team environment to be successful and get things done.
- The Creative and Innovative: These are the out of the box thinkers, cowboys, cowgirls and idea people. They will also work with others on their ideas. They care about ideas in general that enable the organization to be successful and stay ahead of the competition.
- The Calculated Risk-Takers: The deliberate thinkers and risk hedgers are calculated in taking and transferring risks. They carefully plan what they are going to do and are very cognizant of what can go wrong.
Effective PMs are acutely aware that the project resources look at them as a soft leader, the get it done guy or gal, and the key person to always stand up for them, win their hearts and guide their minds. And to be successful in the proverbial real world, which could arguably be a matter of perspectives, the more a PM can own and satisfy the aforementioned core sentiments of the project resources, both up and down-stream, the higher his/her chances of long-term successes are to have the cherished repute of an effective PM.
By Armann Ardaini, SSBB, PgMP, PMP, CQA. Ardaini is a PMO Management consultant for program, process and projects management. He is currently a Sr. Program/Project Management consultant managing a HR Process and Vendor Management Outsourcing Program.
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