Bringing leadership skills to project management is essential. It is especially true in the current dynamic environment, which is characterized by a fast pace of changes. These changes include innovations and discoveries, technology, economic and social changes.
We used to live in a much more stable world. It is important to understand the full impact of this paradigm shift. Recently, someone showed me a YouTube video of someone analyzing trends and predicting the future of technology. My first thought was: “This is probably an excellent way of making a fool of ourselves.” Our ability to predict the future is much reduced, and the pace of changes is likely just to continue increasing.
Often the pace of change is so fast that the environment in which the project will be closed may not be exactly the same as the one in which it was initiated.
It is in that environment that leadership skills for project managers become important, and that include the skill of making decisions.
Beyond the planning phaseOf course, the project plan is necessary; it is an essential phase of project management. Sufficient time should be allocated to planning. The plan will clarify what needs to be done and all the tasks that should be done to successfully complete the project.
However, the plan remains an approximation of reality. The project plan is like a map, which is an approximation of the reality. Success requires us to manage and deal with the reality of the project. It sounds obvious, of course. But it is easy to confuse the project plan with reality.
It is no longer sufficient to plan with precisions and then expect everything to happen as planned. In a dynamic world, it will be important to monitor and frequently adjust. As such, the decision process will impact the success of the project.
A system to support decision-makingDecision-making requires two things:
- our ability to make decisions, or obtain decisions from others
- tools and information supporting quality and timely decisions
It is essential to establish a good system to manage information on your project. Too often, information is scattered around in various unstructured folders on a shared drive. Even worse, sometimes, the information is secretly kept on a private hard drive.
Good decisions require appropriate information. The availability of information, and time required to get it, is critical. Too often, the project manager needs to initiate a sub-project to obtain status updates from team members.
Visibility of information is essential for decision-making.
A good project management and team collaboration app will help a lot the decision-making process. How? Here is a list of benefits:
- The information is organized in the context of tasks
- This is much better than storing conversation in private email folders
- The information is shared and visible to all persons involved with that task. There is no need to wait for the next status update debrief.
- All team members can see the information and conversation and improve the quality of the decision.
- Mobile access helps analyzing information, participating in a conversation and improving the timeliness of decision.
- Audit trail: when an approval is provided for a task or an issue, it leaves an audit trail, and the information is accessible to all team members.