The Six Deadly Sins of Project Management Leadership

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Sin 3: Project success is all about delivering to time, cost, and scope.

Client satisfaction is a myth. Clients don’t want to be satisfied; they want to be delighted, elated, and absolutely “wowed” by your performance. Time, cost and scope, while important, don’t exclusively speak to what clients really want. They want value and they want you to figure out what that value is even if they can’t articulate it at the outset.

Antidote: In addition to your regular project meeting with clients, meet and talk with them informally, get inside their heads to figure out what’s really driving and motivating them. Make sure your team is obsessed with understanding the client at all levels. Remember, you can never over-communicate with a client.

Gone are the days of top-down structures. In today’s “flatter” and more cross-functional world, leadership is needed everywhere. Organizations require that everyone, including their project managers, take up the baton. For too long, project managers were viewed by others, and themselves, more as mechanics assigned to “fix” a problem, rather than a critical leadership resource responsible for implementing the organization’s strategy.

The successful twenty-first century project manager (PM) must exhibit a wide range of leadership skills to guide cross-functional teams in the pursuit of delivering value and excellence through projects, programs, and other major initiatives. Beware of the following six sins of project management leadership, identified by J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, executive vice president, ESI International, as any one of them will undermine your ability to function at the highest levels of performance.


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