So, we do we need from our senior company leadership? We should we be able to expect from them on our projects as we are strategically leading engagements for the betterment and profit of our organization? The list of things we should be able to expect from our company executives may be long – not to include limo service to and from our place of work even though we may feel we deserve it sometimes. I welcome our readers’ thoughts and input here, but I’ve listed five key expectations below. These are items that I personally feel are roles that executive management can and should play in our projects when needed or called upon to do so.
In a matrix reporting environment – which is the type of organization that I’ve led most of my projects in – PMs are assigned resources for the project based on skills and needs. They stay for the duration of the project, and then they move on to other projects. When those resources are overloaded and unable to fulfill their duties on our projects, our credibility with our customer is damaged, our company’s credibility is damaged, and the chances for project success are greatly diminished. Our senior leadership – from the PMO director on up – has ultimate responsibility for ensuring the availability of our assigned resources to our projects. Likewise, should those resources be absolutely needed elsewhere, then leadership has the responsibility to replace those resources with comparably equipped personnel and to do their best to ensure we have a smooth transition. Anything less will severely affect our ability to both serve our project customers and keep them satisfied and confident in our ability to do so.
Another thing that we, as project managers, should be able to expect is the removal of roadblocks on our path to success with our projects. We have the responsibility to keep our senior leadership informed of project status and the risks of upcoming roadblocks. We certainly can’t expect our executive management to fix everything at the 11th hour if we’ve done nothing to prepare them to do so. But if we inform our leadership of impending issues, then they have a duty to support us and our projects – and it’s in their best interest help us in keeping our projects on track.
In an April 2010 survey conducted of project management personnel, 41% indicated that their PMO or senior management offered no training at all to the project managers in their organization. Only 6% cited that their organizations offered training both for new PMs coming into the organization and for ongoing project management career development.
For the PM process to be successful in the organization, we need project managers who are experienced, trained, and ready to take on high-visibility projects. If the senior leadership within our organizations are not willing to allocate dollars to ongoing training in support of these efforts then it’s nearly impossible to expect long-term success from our PMs or the PM process in general.
Availability of tools and processes
In that same April 2010 survey on PMO effectiveness noted above, when asked about the availability of repeatable processes, procedures and templates, a full 53% of responders cited that there was some structure, but it was still lacking. Another 13% stated that none of this existed.
If we fail to provide the tools to our project managers to do their jobs consistently, then we greatly diminish their chances of ongoing success…leaving it more up to chance and luck than good management. And the dollars and support for those processes and procedures must come from our executive leadership within the organization. Successful projects make the organization both successful and financially viable. It’s our leadership’s responsibility to equip our PMs with the tools they need to get the job done right.