Project Leadership: Top 10 Cardinal Principles, Part 2

ADVISORY ARTICLE

Project Leadership: Top 10 Cardinal Principles: Part 2 – The Second Five

By Hareshchandra Thakur, PMP

Associate Vice President
Project Management, Energy Solutions
Wärtsilä India Pvt. Ltd.

Mumbai, India


Continued from Part 1 published in Aug, 2016 – https://pmworldjournal.net/article/project-leadership-top-10-cardinal-principles/

To re-cap, the first five cardinal principles have been discussed in Part 1 :

pmwj50-Sep2016-Thakur-FIGURE1

Figure 1: Ist Five Cardinal Principles – Covered in Part 1 (August Issue)

In this part, the balance 5 cardinal principles are discussed below:

pmwj50-Sep2016-Thakur-FIGURE2

Figure 2: Five Cardinal Principles – Covered in this article – Part 2

These top ten cardinal principles form a word “EFFECTIVE” + S. In effect, these principles serve as a guiding tool for the PMs enabling emerge as Effective Project Leaders.


Abbreviations:

EI – Emotional Intelligence       PM – Project Manager       PL – Project Leader                             
SH – Stakeholder               TM – Team Member

*TMs – Team Members (Chief Design Engineers – Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Logistics Controller, Project Engineers, Procurement Manager, Business Controller, Export Assistants); Site Staff (Site Manager, Site Engineers – Mechanical, Electrical, Civil), Quality Controller, HSE Engineer, Commissioning Engineers – PLC, Mechanical, Electrical, Control & Instrumentation.

**SHs – *TMs, Owners, Sponsors, Owner’s Representatives, Owner’s Consultants (Design and Project Management), Suppliers, Contractors (Mechanical, Electrical, Civil), Transporters.


6. Test your assumptions. Untested assumptions are Risks!!

Decision making requires choosing an alternative and in absence of availability of 100% information, the decisions are usually based on certain assumptions, to that extent decision making involve an element of risk. Projects are no exception as various decisions made at varying stages involve certain assumption(s). PLs are mindful of the fact that almost every decision made is based on certain assumption(s) since complete information is usually not available. Moreover, putting decision on a back-burner until 100% information is available and/or holding on to decisions leads to complications. Dynamic environmental conditions and rapidly changing times add to the challenges.

pmwj50-Sep2016-Thakur-FIGURE3Untested assumptions are like “time bombs” waiting to explode and they are the major source of risks that can eventually derail the project. PLs act proactively and make sure that these assumptions are collated, tested and validated so as to prevent and/or minimise their negative impact on the project. One of the greatest advantages of testing assumptions is that it results in higher preparedness to expect the unexpected. It enhances our ability to respond to the unexpected and mitigate the negative consequences.

Figure – 3 : Testing Assumption

PLs understand that there is no guarantee that a Plan A which has worked successfully in earlier projects would lead to similar success in the current project. PLs invariably have a Plan B (backup Plan) should Plan A which has worked successfully in earlier projects, fail. Moreover, although we plan our activities meticulously but at times, much tour disliking, our projects are influenced and impacted by Murphy’s Law. The back up plans acts as our saviour and switching over to Plan B prevents building up of anxiety and flaring of temper.

One of the classic example emphasizing the need for testing the assumptions as narrated by one PM is given below –

“In one of the projects, erection of 110 M chimney was considered with derrick due to non-availability of crane with large boom length locally. However, during the erection, it was observed that beyond 70 M, the HT transmission lines in the vicinity made it impossible to go ahead with the stay wires holding the derrick and continue further with the manual erection. We had to mobilize a crane with 125 M boom length to erect the remaining part of the chimney. Sensing the urgency, the crane hiring company also raised the prices. Mobilization of the crane at short notice, resulted in cost escalation, apart from the delays, idling of manpower on site and associated delays. Had the team validated their assumption at the project conception stage, such firefighting situation could have been avoided” – Sr. Project Manager.

Non-availability of local manpower with required competence in the country of operation, local holidays, torrential rains/snowfall blocking the roads and hampering the progress are other common causes that disrupt the flow of activities resulting in cost and time overruns. These examples emphasize the need for proper evaluation and validation of the assumptions, proactively planning the activities and making the needed provisions for additional time and costs in the project budget.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 


About the Author

pmwj43-Feb2016-Thakur-PHOTO
Hareshchandra M Thakur

Mumbai, India

flag-india

 


Hareshchandra M Thakur
is a professional in the Power Sector with over 30 years’ experience in setting up of multiple Power Plants in Nuclear, Oil & Gas sectors in India and abroad. Presently, he is working as Associate Vice President, Project Management, Energy Solutions with Wartsila India Pvt. Ltd. Hareshchandra has held various positions in Financial Management and Project Management with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., Wartsila Finland Oy and Wartsila India Pvt. Ltd.

He has closely worked with cross functional and cross cultural teams and has vast international Exposure in key areas – Project Management, Strategic Financial Management, Contract Management and Resource Management, Competence building, Formulation of Business Strategies and Establishing way of working for Indian & global projects. He is Certified NLP Practitioner and has been visiting various Engg and Management institutions as a guest lecturer. He has made presentations at IPMA World Congress at Helsinki, Istanbul & Crete and Global Symposiums on Project Management in New Delhi.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from College of Engineering, University of Poona and a Master’s degree in Financial Management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, University of Mumbai. He obtained PMP Certification in April 2002. He lives in Mumbai, India and can be contacted at [email protected].

 

 

Scoping the project management discipline

SERIES ARTICLE

Series on increasing project management contributions to helping achieve broader ends
Article 4 of 4

By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia

 


BACKGROUND

In the project management world, all too often the project is viewed as an end in itself. The focus is usually on delivering planned project outputs. However, this viewpoint loses sight of the bigger picture. It is virtually always the case that projects are really only part of a means to help achieve broader ends. If we focus more on the latter, opportunities can emerge to increase the contributions project managers can make towards the achievement of such ends. I believe it is important for the project management industry to understand and embrace this broader context, because it provides a platform for project managers to add more value to customers.

This series has looked at how project management can add value through three mechanisms.

  • Helping convert project outputs to actual realisation of customers’ planned business (or equivalent) outcomes;
  • Helping customers determine their business needs, plan for appropriate outcomes, and establish requirements of projects to help realise these outcomes;
  • Helping organizations determine their strategic objectives, plan for achieving them, and develop an appropriate portfolio of projects to help such achievement.

The first three articles of the series (Stretton 2016b,c,d) addressed these three bullet points. This final article is essentially an amalgamation of these articles, and scopes the project management discipline into wider contexts than are usually presented.

INTRODUCTION

This article develops a series of models of the potential, and in some cases actual, scope of the project management discipline. We start with a narrow execution-only model for individual projects. We then expand this model to include the realisation of outcomes to which project outputs contribute, and project management involvement therein, which was discussed in more detail in the first article of this series.

These business (or equivalent) outcomes then form bases for developing more progressively inclusive models of how project management could, and in many cases actually does, get involved in activities which precede the execution of individual projects.

These activities involve capturing the business needs of the project’s key customers; planning to convert these needs to outcomes; and establishing the technical requirements of projects to help achieve these – as discussed in some detail in the second article of this series.

The third article then moved on to the broader context of organisational strategic planning, which was presented in three segments, namely establishing its strategic objectives; developing strategic options to achieve them, and choosing the best; and developing strategic portfolios of projects to help accomplish this.

This fourth article will discuss relationships of the latter organisational strategic group with the components of the individual project components. Finally, we add organisational outcomes realisation, and then consolidate a model illustrating the full extent of the scope of project management involvement already discussed.

But first, we distinguish between two different types of organisations.

More…

To read entire article (click here)

Editor’s note: This series of articles on general management principles applied to project management is by Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still accepting some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal. See his author profile below.

 



About the Author

pmwj33-Apr2015-Stretton-PHOTO
Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management and Technology
Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

Sydney, Australia

 flag-australia


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 160 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.

 

 

Organizational strategic plans, projects, and strategic outcomes

SERIES ARTICLE

Series on increasing project management contributions to helping achieve broader ends
Article 3 of 4

By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia


BACKGROUND

In the project management world, all too often the project is viewed as an end in itself. The focus is usually on delivering planned project outputs. However, this viewpoint loses sight of the bigger picture. It is virtually always the case that projects are really only part of a means to help achieve broader ends. If we focus more on the latter, opportunities can emerge to increase the contributions project managers can make towards the achievement of such ends. I believe it is important for the project management industry to understand and embrace this broader context, because it provides a platform for project managers to add more value to customers. This series looks at how project management can add value through three mechanisms.

  • Helping convert project outputs to actual realisation of customers’ planned business (or equivalent) outcomes;
  • Helping customers determine their business needs, plan for appropriate outcomes, and establish requirements of projects to help realise these outcomes;
  • Helping organizations determine their strategic objectives, plan for achieving them, and develop an appropriate portfolio of projects to help such achievement.

The first two articles of the series (Stretton 2016b,c) addressed the first two bullet points. This third article is concerned with the last bullet point.

INTRODUCTION

In the previous articles I discussed project outputs and customers’ outcomes, and customers’ needs and project requirements. Both were essentially concerned with individual projects and their customers. However, in a broader organizational context, these can be seen as components of organisational strategic planning activities, which generally include developing portfolios of projects to help achieve strategic goals. This article is concerned with such strategic planning processes.

But first we distinguish between two different types of organisations.

TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONS THAT UNDERTAKE PROJECTS

As will be noted in all four articles of this series, there are two quite different types of organizations that plan and execute projects. I follow Cooke-Davies 2002 in describing them as project-based and production-based organizations, and borrow from Archibald et al 2012 (who use different descriptors) in defining them:

  • Project-based organizations derive most (if not all) of their revenue and/or other benefits from creating and delivering projects.
  • Production-based organizations derive most (if not all) of their revenue and/or benefits from producing and selling products and services. They utilize projects to create or improve new products and services, enter new markets, or otherwise improve or change their organizations.

As will be seen in more detail in later discussions, the scope of involvement by project managers in project-based organisations is normally far greater than in production-based organisations.

More…

To read entire article, click here

Editor’s note: This series of articles on general management principles applied to project management is by Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still accepting some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal. See his author profile below.

 


 

About the Author


pmwj36-Jul2015-Stretton-PHOTOAlan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)

Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

flag-australia

 


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 160 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.

 

 

Customers’ needs and project requirements


SERIES ARTICLE

Series on increasing project management contributions to helping achieve broader ends
Article 2 of 4

By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia

 


BACKGROUND

In the project management world, all too often the project is viewed as an end in itself. The focus is usually on delivering planned project outputs. However, this viewpoint loses sight of the bigger picture. It is virtually always the case that projects are really only part of a means to help achieve broader ends. If we focus more on the latter, opportunities can emerge to increase the contributions project managers can make towards the achievement of such ends. I believe it is important for the project management industry to understand and embrace this broader context, because it provides a platform for project managers to add more value to customers.

This series looks at how project managers can add value via three mechanisms.

  • Helping convert project outputs to actual realisation of customers’ planned business (or equivalent) outcomes;
  • Helping customers determine their business needs, plan for appropriate outcomes, and establish requirements of projects to help realise these outcomes;
  • Helping organizations determine their strategic objectives, plan for achieving them, and develop an appropriate portfolio of projects to help such achievement.

The first article of the series (Stretton 2016b) addressed the first bullet point. This article is concerned with the second bullet point.

INTRODUCTION

The processes which conclude with customers achieving their desired outcomes start with planning processes – i.e. with customers establishing their business (or equivalent) needs, and deciding just what future outcomes they do wish to achieve.

It is strikingly obvious that, if the customers’ business needs have not been accurately determined and captured, then any subsequent project designed to help satisfy such needs will almost certainly be ineffective. Yet, the project management literature rarely discusses the necessity for doing this, let alone ways and means.

This article is first concerned with what I have called capturing customers’ business (or equivalent) needs, and possibilities for project management to contribute thereto.

We then discuss planning processes for converting these needs into outcomes, which generally involve projects. We go on to discuss the meagre material in the literature on establishing requirements for projects which will best facilitate the achievement of customers’ outcomes, and the potential for project management to contribute here. But first, two notes on organisational types, and terminologies.

TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONS THAT UNDERTAKE PROJECTS

As will be noted in all four articles of this series, there are two quite different types of organizations that plan and execute projects. I follow Cooke-Davies 2002 in describing them as project-based and production-based organizations, and borrow from Archibald et al 2012 (who use different descriptors) in defining them:

More…

To read entire article (click here)

 


 

About the Author

pmwj35-Jun2015-Stretton-PHOTO
Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

flag-australia

 


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 160 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.

 

 

Project outputs and customers’ outcomes

SERIES ARTICLE

Series on increasing project management contributions to helping achieve broader ends
Article 1 of 4

By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia


INTRODUCTION TO SERIES

In the project management world, all too often the project is viewed as an end in itself. The focus is usually on delivering planned project outputs. However, this viewpoint loses sight of the bigger picture. It is virtually always the case that projects are really only part of a means to help achieve broader ends. If we focus more on the latter, opportunities can emerge to increase the contributions project managers can make towards the achievement of such ends. I believe it is important for the project management industry to understand and embrace this broader context, because it provides a platform for project managers to add more value to customers.

This series looks at how project management can add value through three mechanisms.

  • Helping convert project outputs to actual realisation of customers’ planned business (or equivalent) outcomes;
  • Helping customers determine their business needs, plan for appropriate outcomes, and establish requirements of projects to help realise these outcomes;
  • Helping organizations determine their strategic objectives, plan for achieving them, and develop an appropriate portfolio of projects to help such achievement.

This article addresses the first bullet point.

INTRODUCTION TO THIS ARTICLE

In this article we look in more detail at some of the increasing number of contributions by writers in relation to project outputs, and particularly on how these outputs contribute to the realisation of business (or equivalent) outcomes for clients and key stakeholders – whom I will jointly describe as “customers” in this article. We then look at how much involvement project management could or should have in helping customers actually realise these outcomes.

THE NATURE OF PROJECT OUTPUTS AND CUSTOMERS’ OUTCOMES

Zwikael & Smyrk 2009

The nature of, and difference between, project outputs and (what I have termed) customer outcomes are well described by Zwikael & Smyrk 2009, as follows.

…although all projects are approved in order to achieve outcomes (benefits) defined by the project funder, project management is often perceived by organisations as a process aimed at generating a unique output. While output delivery can still be accepted as an important milestone towards outcome achievement, a project should be considered complete only after the reason for its approval has been fulfilled.

Zwikael & Smyrk go on to present models which show the context of each. We start with their input-process-output (IPO) model.

More…

To read entire article (click here)

Editor’s note: This series of articles on general management principles applied to project management is by Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still accepting some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal. See his author profile below.

 


 

About the Author

pmwj36-Jul2015-Stretton-PHOTOAlan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)
Sydney, Australia

 flag-australia


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 160 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.