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What Does a Project Manager Need to Deliver Successful Projects
(In large and complex organisations)?

A corollary :- After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat its self.

Keywords: Relationships, communications, art and craft of project management, third dimension skills, project leadership, seven lookings, case studies.

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What Does a Project Manager Need to Deliver Successful Projects
(In large and complex organisations)?
[P008]

This paper focuses on those aspects of a Project Manager’s skills and knowledge that must be invoked for project success in large, complex organisations. The first task is to define Project Management as a mixture of art and craft and how this connects to concepts of management and leadership. One of the themes of the paper is that a successful Project Manager must be able to balance the requirements of art and craft, of management and leadership. Building on these definitions, I use 3 Case Studies as a basis for assessing success in terms of project ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ criteria. However, even the ‘what’ (or hard criteria) of Project Management can be affected by Stakeholders’ ‘hidden agendas’; these ‘hidden agendas’ must be recognised early and resolved. It is these aspects of managing a project that don’t fall neatly into methodologies of Project Management, that I have termed the Third Dimension. In large complex organisations this is given the nebulous term of ‘politics’. To be successful in these projects, a Project Manager must be able to work within the power structures of the organisation, tapping into the ‘power lines’. A Project Manager can survive in the Third Dimension, and can deliver successful projects, but must know the ‘who’ and the ‘how’ to master the ‘game’.

Not every Project Manager will see the need to do this, nor will he/she believe that it is possible to learn how. The last part of this paper will explore how Project Managers have acquired the skills in the past, and through looking at how many corporations are now working to teach their people the necessary leadership and awareness skills, speculate on how large complex organisations can encourage and support their Project Managers to become adept at operating in the Third Dimension.

Author: Dr. Lynda Bourne

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