The term ‘risk’ is defined in financial terms as ‘the chance that an investment’s actual return will be different than expected’. But in Project Management Body of Knowledge, project risks are defined as uncertain events that will have an effect on project objectives like scope, cost, schedule, quality etc. The impact can be positive as well as negative. Positive risks are called opportunities and negative risks are called threats. By this definition they are like two sides of a coin. Depending on the individual’s appetite for risk, one will view the same event as a threat or an opportunity. For example, making a mega blockbuster movie with Rajnikanth is an opportunity for Director Shankar. For others it is a threat. If you are a risk lover, you will sleep less but eat more and if you are risk averse you will probably sleep more but eat less.
In his book ‘High performance entrepreneur’ Subroto Bagchi talks about six areas in which a company should differentiate their service, product from the already existing competitors. The six areas are 1. Domain 2. Tools 3.Methodology 4.quality 5.Innovation and 6.Branding.
I feel that every Project Manager can differentiate themselves in these 6 areas.
Let me elaborate.
In the context of PMBoK, I had only learnt about the different leadership styles that I discussed in the last post. In the Laserwords PMP program, Mr.Chandra Kalluri VP-HR, Laserwords explained the concept “situational leadership styles”. He gave examples on how depending on your employees’ competences in their task areas and commitment to the task, the leadership style of PM may vary from one person to another. PMs may also lead the same person one way sometimes and another way at other times. I guess the picture on the top explains it well. You can also think of when you have used a directing vs coaching vs supporting vs delegating / empowering style to manage people and tasks.
As a PM, even after you organize work as project and plan for everything including risk responses, the success of the project highly depends on how much you can convince your team to work for you and align them towards the goals you set. This is where leadership skills and styles come into play. Theorists propose that there are three type of leaders
Though customer is the key stakeholder and what makes customer happy is timely deliveries, the role of a PM is not just taking care of deliveries. It is to involve all the stakeholders (customers, team or employees, senior management, shareholders, society etc) at appropriate phases and ensure that the deliveries meet the project objectives and is successful from all aspects.
I like this quote from Francis Bacon “Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.” Currently I am reading the book “The high performance entrepreneur” by Subroto Bagchi and really chewing and digesting it. And I can tell you it is very tasty. The Golden rules in the book are invaluable for a budding entrepreneur like me. I was at Sri Sankara college of Arts and Science near Kanchipuram today. When I addressed the 300+ students I shared that taste as the message. I told them that “Manager” is not a title but a reward for those who are willing to take accountability for meeting specific results; I elaborated how in this connected world, a manager’s job is to interact with client, performing organization, team, shareholders and society and produce the value that each one of them is looking for; I left them with the message that management study should not stop after college but go on forever through sources like Subroto Bagchi’s book.
Now I am teaching for PMP, I saw a major difference between PMBOK 3rd and 4th edition. In scope, risk, cost, communication and in all 6 processes of project integration area they have added “expert judgment” as a technique. They have also given guidance on who are the typical experts to help with that process. I think it is a very useful update.
We were talking about building relationships. The one practical tip here is “Remember the names”. The sweetest syllable to the ear of any man or woman is their name. Write down the names of your team members and key stakeholders and create your personal team dictionary. It is all there in outlook or lotus notes, yes. But write down the name picturing the person’s face. Add their phone number and e-mail ID. I don’t mean it should be paper and pen. It can be excel also. But don’t cut and paste from outlook. Type it so that you can get the spelling right.
Sorry, I couldn’t get back to this series for a while. Let’s start where we left. We were talking about project politics.
The best way to tackle politics is obviously open and honest communication. right? But why is it so difficult? Could it be the technology? Although technology provides more ways to keep in touch, it doesn’t automatically build relationships. Building relationship is hard work.
We were talking about power play and politics. They cannot be wished away. Consider these projects:
> Running a hotel
> Starting a school
> An ERP implementation
> Producing a movie and
> Taking your team on a tour
They all have stakeholders – 1.customers, 2.sponsors / investors, 3.performing organization / senior management, 4.team and 5.the society in all the above projects. But see how project objectives are set in these projects…
By this time you as Project Manager will be introduced to a lot of people related to the project. Find out how and why they are stakeholders in your project. Stakeholders are people with considerable interest in your project and can influence the course of the project. They could be seniors from your organization, managers from client organization, senior managers in client organization who could be the sponsors, end users, media and so on.
Now we are ready to begin the first stage – the confused stage called initial planning. Write the project goal statements and keep it clear in your mind. You are going to articulate it to so many stakeholders in the coming days and week to get their support – like the managers who may lend their people and other resources, the team leads, the customer himself, (so that they can keep changing it aoap, as often as possible (-:)