Successful Projects and the Eight Compelling Behaviours


Advances in Project Management Series

Martin Price

United Kingdom

You’ll be cut off at the pass if you let yourself rely on standard processes, tools and templates. These, however well chosen, are not enough to manage a project. The quality of working practices, ingenuity, judgement, leadership and cultural factors are at least as important. Today the word on the street is that the behaviour of project players is decisive for achieving the pace of progress and reliability that customers and users expect. This is a reality that is sometimes overlooked and even disregarded. It is through the strengthening of players’ behaviour, as individuals and as groups, that the greatest opportunities for advancing project management capability are to be found.

Projects as ‘social endeavours’                                                           

The lecturer on a recent project management course explained this matter in a different way. She said “in managing a project there is only behaviour; the rest is administration”. Today we find ourselves talking about the importance of ‘soft-skills’, ‘culture’, ‘values’, ‘teamwork’, ‘pacing progress’, ‘adaptation’, ‘endurance’, ‘emotional intelligence’ and of project management as a social endeavor.

Many of the most experienced project managers are now coming out to voice their views on the importance of the behaviour of project players and their organisation. They are reporting that a strong human and organisational capability can itself substantially underwrite project performance and reliability.

Too many projects fail to deliver on their promises and when there is disruption, it is rare that the difficulties are attributable to errors in the choices of methodology, tools or technique. To achieve the expected pace of progress, projects depend principally on a series of decision chains. Errors or misjudgements made anywhere along these chains, failure to then spot them or to address the consequential issues, will lead to delay, rework and the waste of resources. Because of its complexities and uncertainties, there is no field of human endeavour where behaviour is more crucial than in the management of a project organisation. Here, improvement to decision-making can be achieved in a number of ways.


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Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower in the UK. Information about the Gower series can be found at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/advancesinprojectmanagement.



About the Author

pmwj42-Jan2016-Price-PHOTOMartin Price

United Kingdom

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Martin Price is widely known as a speaker and writer and for his fresh ideas on human and organisational behaviour so crucial to the success of managing a project. He was Director of Professional Development for PMIs UK Chapter and for six years hosted PMIs monthly UK Chapter meetings in London.

Martin worked as an electrical engineer before spending 15 years as a personnel manager and then as a change management consultant with PA Consulting Group. There he enabled and supported the transformation of large and small businesses.

He is MD of EngagementWorks, a consultancy supporting organisations in their quest for developing high performing project organisations. Based in Northampton, UK, Martin can be contacted at [email protected]. For more information or to follow Martin, visit http://www.engagementworks.com/.