Project Team Members and Goals and Objectives

SERIES ARTICLE

Series on Project Management for Team Members

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy


Introduction

This is the seventh and final article of the series: Project Management for Team Members (aka Project Followership).

Here we will deal with the role of project team members in defining and interpreting project goals and objectives. We believe this topic deserves special attention since in many studies focused on Project Critical Success Factors, project goals and objectives are frequently listed among the top factors. However, to our knowledge, nobody has commented on whether project team members should contribute to the definition of project goals and objectives and how they interpret them.

Before going any further, it is important to clarify what project goals and objectives are. In fact, by surfing the web or reading different project management books, you will find slightly different to very different (and even contrasting) definitions. The first thing we noticed (which surprised us) is that the definition of project goal(s) is not particularly frequent in project management literature, while more attention is paid to the definition of project objectives. For example, the PMBOK® defines objectives and not goals. We also noticed that many books and articles report “project goals and objectives” together and we had the feeling that the terms were used with very similar meanings. Our feelings were supported by the definitions provided in English dictionaries where the difference between goals and objectives is subtle.

For example, The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language defines an objective as something worked toward or striven for; a goal; and goal as the object toward which an endeavor is directed; an end.

Since we do not wish to bore you with all the definitions we found, to summarize, in Table 1 you can find the main differences between Goal and Objective.

More…

To read entire article (click here)

 


 

About the Author

160504 - Sampietro 150x
Dr. Marco Sampietro

Milan, Italy

 

 flag-italy


Marco Sampietro
obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

To see other works by Marco Sampietro, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/marco-sampietro/

 

 

Project Team Members and Change Requests

SERIES ARTICLE

Series on Project Management for Team Members

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy


Introduction

This is the sixth article of the series: Project Management for Team Members (aka Project Followership). We will deal with the role of project team members in change requests. The idea is that, while projects are an inherently turbulent environment, such turbulence can be controlled or exacerbated by team members. One of the typical ways to increase or decrease the instability of projects is through change requests.

Those who do not frequently participate in project activities or, due to the responsibilities assigned to them, do not require a global vision of the project very often feel that projects are a chaotic, disorganized environment where the company, more than providing support, almost seems to be rowing against the current.

It is rare during a project that what is planned is then carried out without undergoing changes: revisions to schedules, budgets, and the objective are very common and plagued by ubiquitous urgencies.

Let us clear up any misunderstandings: it is true, some projects are turbulent due to a real inability to manage them or even because those who should manage them actually make the environment even more turbulent and instead of “putting out the flames, throw fuel onto the fire”. However many other times the project manager and the company in general do a good job but, despite this, the projects are still unstable: the decisions made are called into question and work plans are frequently updated.

Why does this happen? How should a project team member interpret this continuous shuffling of the cards? And, finally, how can a project team member help to stabilize a project?

One characteristic that all projects have in common is the attribute of innovation, uniqueness. Similar projects exist, but there are no identical projects. This characteristic translates into another element: uncertainty.  Given that there are many variables at play in a project and given that these variables can change from project to project, by nature projects become uncertain and unstable environments.

The situation can be depicted by the diagram in Figure 1, which represents the so-called “cone of uncertainty”.

pmwj48-Jul2016-Sampietro-FIGURE1

Figure 1. The Cone of Uncertainty

Source: adapted from Bohem 1981 and McConnel 1997

The diagram can be interpreted as follows: the horizontal axes represents time, while the vertical axes represents the estimate errors referred to the typical project variables (times, costs, use of resources), compared to the real values of the project (the horizontal line with the number 0). As we can see, the worst time to make forecasts is at the start of the project as that is when the uncertainty is greatest. Logically, uncertainty in the estimates is reset to zero at the end of the project, as by that stage the values have been calculated (in reality, in some situations even the final calculations are uncertain, but this is a discussion that touches on project control systems).

More…

To read entire article, click here

 


 

About the Author

160504 - Sampietro 150x
Dr. MARCO SAMPIETRO

Milan, Italy

flag-italy




Marco Sampietro
obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

To see other works by Marco Sampietro, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/marco-sampietro/

 

Project Team Members and Project Meetings

SERIES ARTICLE

Series on Project Management for Team Members

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy

 


INTRODUCTION

This is the fifth article of the series: Project Management for Team Members (aka Project Followership). We will deal with the role of project team members in project meetings, with a special focus on the kick-off meeting.

The topic of project meetings is one of the most overlooked in project management literature and discussions. This is strange as meetings are a key ingredient in every project environment. In fact, it is during meetings that much information and many updates are shared, many decisions are taken and many human interactions happen.

There are different types of project meetings, of which we can mention:

  • Kick-off meetings
  • Project status meetings
  • Project review meetings

While the role of team members is quite clear in the last two types of meetings (where mostly fact-based information is provided), the role of project team members in kick-off meetings is almost neglected.

One of the aims of kick-off meetings is to formally notify the stakeholders of the project start-up and at the same time check that everyone has understood their role and relative responsibilities. It is also likely to be one of the few occasions when stakeholders have the opportunity to meet each other, and this is why team members should take full advantage of it to get to know the main stakeholders and their expectations and strategies (global vision, see second article in the series).

Unfortunately, it is not hard to find team members who, not being sufficiently aware, perceive these meetings as an unnecessary element that “steals” time and adds nothing to the management of the project. Their participation is more due to moral obligation, organizational pressure, or even the opportunity to eat some free sandwiches (food is often served during kick-off meetings to increase the participation rate). Despite the poor quality of many kick-off meetings, they are one of the most used project management tools in organizations with both low and high project management maturity (Besner and Hobbs, 2004).

We believe that team members who have the opportunity of being involved from the outset should play an active part and should recognize kick-off meetings as a unique occasion which, if managed well, can provide the answers to many questions and help to spread the sense of belonging and involvement.

More…

To read entire article (click here)

 


 

About the Author

160504 - Sampietro 250x
Dr. MARCO SAMPIETRO

Milan, Italy

flag-italy

 


Marco Sampietro
obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

To see other works by Marco Sampietro, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/marco-sampietro/

 

Project Team Members and Stakeholder Management

SERIES ARTICLE

Series on Project Management for Team Members
Article 4

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy


INTRODUCTION

This is the fourth article of the series: Project Management for Team Members (aka Project Followership). We will deal with the importance of team members in stakeholder management and the difficulties they may face.

The topic of stakeholder management is relatively recent in the project management discipline. The first studies go back to the seventies, and they were related to the implementation of large public projects or complex IT systems. One of the first papers completely dedicated to stakeholder management can be traced back to the work of David Cleland, who in 1986 published the paper Project Stakeholder Management in the Project Management Journal. Finally, while the PMBOK introduced the notion of project stakeholders in the first edition in 1996, we had to wait until 2013, with the fifth edition, for a knowledge area dedicated to project stakeholder management.

To gain a deeper understanding of stakeholder management, reading the recent series of articles written by Dr Lynda Bourne in this journal is recommended.

Nowadays project stakeholder management is quite a “hot topic” since many people have realized that projects may affect and be influenced by many individuals and organizations. Not considering or managing them can trigger negative reactions resulting in poor project performance, if not their premature end. Looking at the glass as half full and not considering or managing project stakeholders may result in the leveraging of fewer opportunities.

The purpose of this article is not to stress the importance of involving project team members in stakeholder management but to make the team members aware of the important role they play in stakeholder management, and also to highlight some of the difficulties they may face in the stakeholder management process.

THE IMPORTANCE OF TEAM MEMBERS IN STAKEHOLDER MANAGEMENT

While it is quite intuitive that team members should have a role in project stakeholder management, we would like to underline their importance by noting that:

  • Based on the experiments and observations we carried out, it has been noted that individuals are rarely able to identify more than 60% of the actual stakeholders. What do we mean by actual stakeholder? It is very simple. We compared the list of project stakeholders created by individual team members/project managers with the list created through team effort; we then asked team members and project managers: do you think the stakeholders on this new list that were not on your individual lists are useless or irrelevant? The answers always confirmed that the additional stakeholders were relevant and they should be managed somehow.

More…

To read entire article, click here

 


 

About the Author


pmwj42-Jan2016-Sampietro-PHOTO
Dr MARCO SAMPIETRO

SDA Bocconi School of Management
Bocconi University

Milan, Italy

 flag-italy

 

Marco Sampietro obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

To see other works by Marco Sampietro, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/marco-sampietro/

 

 

Project Team Members and Estimates


SERIES ARTICLE

Series on Project Management for Team Members
Article 3

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy

 


INTRODUCTION                                                         

This is the third article of the series: Project Management for Team Members (aka Project Followership). Here we will deal with the importance of involving team members in the estimate process and the difficulties they may face during this process.

The topic of estimates is absolutely central in project management. We may have defined the objectives down to the last detail, developed an excellent WBS and correctly assigned the project roles and responsibilities, but if the estimates concerning the costs, schedule and use of resources are wrong we risk embarking on a project that has very little chance of achieving the set objectives.

The estimation process is therefore very important, and project team members play a central role in this regard.

WHY TEAM MEMBERS SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THE ESTIMATE PROCESS

The vast majority of project management literature suggests involving team members in the estimation process. This is mainly for two reasons:

  • Team members usually have the knowledge to provide reliable estimates for tasks they have to carry out;
  • If team members are involved in the estimate process their level of commitment will increase thus heightening the probability that the estimates will be respected. In fact, it has been noted that when people are asked to set their own goals (an example would be asking a team member to propose a duration for the task they have to carry out), they tend to focus their energies on achieving those goals. This dual relationship between estimate and performance (the expected performance influences the estimate but the estimate also influences performance) goes by the name of “self-fulfilling prophecy” (Merton 1968). In general self-fulfilling prophecies are those predictions whereby the person making the prediction is also capable of influencing its coming about; if there is a high expectation that the prophecy will occur the individual will behave so that it does. The motivation for this behavior is mainly to enhance or protect reputations and to increase self-esteem.

The involvement of project team members in the estimate process is particularly relevant when the bottom-up estimate technique is selected from among the various options, that is, team members are asked to estimate the different variables relating to single work packages of the WBS.

DIFFICULTIES TEAM MEMBERS MAY FACE DURING THE ESTIMATION PROCESS

Some points of the estimation process must be taken into careful consideration by the team member who provides the estimates during project planning.

The different degrees of tolerable approximation

A first point that very often creates difficulties, if not even embarrassment, is the fact that all projects are based on estimates and not accurate data and that the approximation and uncertainty of these estimates may even vary within the same project.

More…

To read entire article (click here)

 


 

About the Author

pmwj42-Jan2016-Sampietro-PHOTO
Dr. MARCO SAMPIETRO

Milan, Italy

 

 flag-italy


Marco Sampietro
obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

To see other works by Marco Sampietro, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/marco-sampietro/

 

 

Proper Behaviors of Project Team Members

SERIES ARTICLE

Series on Project Management for Team Members
Article 2

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy


INTRODUCTION                                                  

This is the second article of the series: Project Management for Team Members (aka Project Followership). In this article we will explore the key behaviors that project team members should implement while participating in projects.

We are aware that there are still organizations and projects where team members must simply do what they are told to do and nothing more. In those settings, fully applying Project Followership is not easy.

However, we are witnessing a dramatic reduction of these types of organizations and projects. The evident increase in complexity and uncertainty, and the need for speed that many projects are asked to comply with, are no longer suitable for one-man-show paradigms where analysis and decision-making are centralized in a single or few persons and where passive and execution-only team members are a good fit. Today team members still have to be good executors but they are also asked to make more and more decisions and to share part of the leadership efforts.

PROPER BEHAVIORS OF PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS

Based on the trends we have seen both in organizations (leadership and followership, shared leadership, boundary spanning, proactive behaviors) and in project management (mainly agile and lean project management) we have identified six main behaviors that an effective team member should adopt.

The first one is Global Vision. Global vision is the ability to construct and maintain an overview of the project and to understand how one’s decisions and behaviors influence other tasks, people, and the project as a whole. Having a global vision allows people to make better decisions and to have better relationships with the team members. In fact, the more a person has a 360° view of the project, the more they are able to understand how their decisions fit with the rest of the project and to understand the perspectives and the needs of the other team members. Let us consider the following example.

More…

To read entire article (click here)

Editor’s note: This paper is an update and supplement to the paper: Project Followership: How Project Team Members Can Contribute to Project Success. PM World Journal, Vol. III, Issue X – October 2014. Moreover, this paper is largely based on Chapter 2 of the book: Sampietro, M., Villa, T.; Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2014.

 


 

About the Author

pmwj42-Jan2016-Sampietro-PHOTO

 

Dr. MARCO SAMPIETRO

Milan, Italy

 flag-italy

 

Marco Sampietro obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

To see other works by Marco Sampietro, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/marco-sampietro/

 

Project Management for Team Members: Series Introduction

SERIES ARTICLE

Project Management for Team Members

By Prof Marco Sampietro

SDA Bocconi School of Management

Milan, Italy


The Need for Project Management for Team Members

This is the first article in a series on “Project Management for Team Members”. While it is clear and obvious that team members contribute to project success, almost nothing has been written about the skills and behaviors that project team members should have in order to effectively and satisfactorily participate in a project environment.

At the end of 2015, some keyword searches were made on amazon.com to see how many project management books were available targeted at the main project participants: project managers, project sponsors, line managers and other executives, and team members. The results are summarized in Figure 1 where we have used a standard pyramid to qualitatively display the increasing number of people involved in projects based on their role. Of course project sponsors, functional managers and other executives are much less in number compared to project managers (normally they support many projects in parallel) while project team members are much more in number compared to project managers. Numbers on the right side of the pyramid indicate how many publications targeted at each project management role are available (on amazon.com).

pmwj42-Jan2016-Sampietro-IMAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 1. Number of project management books by target audience.

It would be wrong to expect the number of publications to be proportional to the amount of people in each role since the focus of their work is different. For project sponsors, functional managers and other executives, supporting projects may occupy just a small percentage of their working time and responsibility, so it is not strange that only a small number of publications are targeted at them. For project managers the situation may vary. In some cases being project manager may be a person’s main role in an organization and consequently it may absorb a good deal of their total working time; in other cases being a project manager is more an exception than a rule, but even in this case the achieved project performance might have an impact on their career. For team members the situation is very similar to that of project managers, with the difference being that it is sometimes easier for team members to blame project managers for poor project performance than for project managers to blame project sponsors and other executives.

To summarize, it makes sense for publications targeted at project managers to be more in number compared to publications targeted at other project roles, but having just one publication[1] targeted at team members is, quite frankly, disappointing.

More…

To read entire article (click here)

 


 

 About the Author

pmwj42-Jan2016-Sampietro-PHOTO

Dr. MARCO SAMPIETRO

Milan, Italy

flag-italy

 

Marco Sampietro obtained a Ph.D. at the University of Bremen, Germany. Since 2000 he has been a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy. SDA Bocconi School of Management is ranked among the top Business Schools in the world (Financial Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and The Economist rankings). He is a Core Faculty Member at SDA Bocconi School of Management and teaches Project Management in the MBA – Master of Business Administration, and GEMBA – Global Executive Master of Business Administration programs. He is Faculty Member at MISB – Mumbai International School of Business, the Indian subsidiary of Bocconi University, and Visiting Professor at IHU – International Hellenic University, Greece. He is also a Contract Professor at Bocconi University and Milano Fashion Institute for the Project Management courses.

He was a speaker at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2007, 2008, and 2011, in the USA, and a speaker at the PMI Global European Congress, Italy, 2010.

He is Member of the Steering Committee of IPMA-Italy.

He is co-author and/or editor of 10 books on project management and 7 books on IT management. Among them: Empowering Project Teams. Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014. Finally, he is the author of award-winning case studies and papers.

Dr. Sampietro can be contacted at: [email protected]

[1] Sampietro, M. Villa, T. (foreword by Russell D. Archibald). Empowering Project Teams: Using Project Followership to Improve Performance. CRC Press, 2014.