Leading Projects to the Next Level: Directing & Managing Project Execution
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Leading Projects to the Next Level: Directing & Managing Project Execution

During the third phase of the project, which is the execution phase, the project manager is responsible for directing and managing the project execution. This phase involves carrying out all the activities and tasks as outlined in the Project Management Plan. The purpose of this phase is to execute project activities and tasks to achieve the desired project objectives. To ensure that the project stays on track, the project manager applies various monitoring and control techniques as outlined in the Project Management Plan. These techniques are used to ensure that the project baselines are met and maintained throughout the execution phase. The project manager is responsible for monitoring and controlling project activities and tasks to ensure that they are completed according to the schedule and budget. The deliverables of this phase are the project deliverables, which are the results of the executed project activities and tasks.

Orchestrating Project Excellence

The process of Directing and Managing Project Execution requires performing various actions at the same time to successfully implement the Project Management Plan. The inputs that are required for this process include the Project Management Plan, Approved change requests, Environmental factors of the enterprise, and Assets of organizational processes. 

To execute the project with more finesse, the following tools and techniques are used: Expert judgement, Project management information system, and Meetings. These tools help to ensure that the project is executed according to the plan and that the project team is on track with their deliverables.

The outputs of the Directing and Managing Project Execution process include Deliverables, Work performance data, Change requests, Project Management Plan updates, and Project documents updates. These outputs help to monitor the progress of the project and ensure that it is on track with its goals and objectives.

Project Integration Management

Project Integration Management is a crucial aspect of any project. It involves developing a comprehensive framework that ensures all the various elements of a project are properly coordinated and integrated. To achieve this, a variety of tools, techniques, and methodologies are applied, which incorporate the 10 Project Management Knowledge Areas, the 4 Project Phases, and the 5 Project Process Groups within each phase.

To effectively manage project integration, certain key actions need to be taken. These include preparing, reviewing, and regularly updating the project plan, making informed decisions, resolving conflicts, setting priorities, solving problems, managing people, maintaining communications, and managing key project elements such as time, cost, quality, and scope. Additionally, external influences on the project, such as legal regulations and stakeholder expectations, must be carefully managed. By effectively executing these key actions, project integration can be successfully managed, leading to a well-coordinated, efficient, and successful project outcome.

Project Manager Responsibilities

As a project manager, you will have diverse responsibilities that go beyond just overseeing the project's progress. Your role will require you to develop detailed designs and specifications for the project, taking into account the project's objectives and constraints. You will also be responsible for preparing and managing the overall program for the project, which involves coordinating and scheduling the various tasks and activities that need to be done to achieve the project's goals.

Moreover, you will need to oversee and manage project communications, ensuring that all stakeholders are kept informed of the project's progress and any issues that arise. You will be responsible for monitoring project issues, identifying and addressing any potential roadblocks that may impede the project's success.

Another crucial element of your role as a project manager is developing and implementing quality assurance programs. You will need to ensure that the project's deliverables meet the desired quality standards and that the project is completed in compliance with all relevant regulations and standards.

Additionally, you will be responsible for preparing documentation for contracts and administering contracts on behalf of the organization. This will involve negotiating contracts, reviewing contract terms and conditions, and ensuring that all contractual obligations are met.

As a project manager, you will also be required to liaise with external persons and agencies, such as contractors, suppliers, and regulatory bodies. You will need to establish and maintain effective working relationships with these stakeholders, ensuring that their requirements and needs are met in the project.

Finally, you will be responsible for reporting regularly on all aspects of the project. This will involve preparing reports on project progress, issues, risks, and opportunities, and presenting these reports to stakeholders. You will need to ensure that all reports are accurate, comprehensive, and delivered on time.

Building the High-Performing Project Team

Acquire Project Team

Acquiring a project team is a crucial initial task during the implementation phase, as it involves procuring all the necessary human resources required to produce project deliverables. This process requires careful execution to ensure that the acquisition is carried out in a manner consistent with the Human Resource Management Plan. The staff and contractors selected must be capable of meeting the project's needs, and this process is influenced by various factors such as enterprise environmental factors and organisational process assets.

To acquire a project team, several tools and techniques are employed. Pre-assignment is one such technique, which involves assigning staff to the project based on their skills and availability. Negotiation is another technique that is used to select the right contractors and vendors. Acquisition is the process of actually procuring the staff and other resources required for the project. Virtual teams are used to bring together team members who are not physically present in the same location.

Multi-criteria decision analysis is another important technique that is used to select the best staff and contractors for the project. This technique involves analyzing various factors such as cost, skills, availability, and experience to make a well-informed decision.

The output of the acquiring a project team process includes project staff assignments, resource calendars, and updates to the Project Management Plan. These outputs are critical to the success of the project as they ensure that the right human resources are available at the right time and that the project is managed effectively.

Develop Project Team

After the procurement of the project team, it is important to implement strategies that will help improve the competencies and interactions of team members, thereby enhancing overall team performance. To achieve this, a number of strategies aimed at developing the skills of team members and cultivating feelings of trust and cohesiveness must be put in place.

The following inputs are required to develop the project team: the Human Resource Management Plan, project staff assignments, resource calendars, and other relevant information.

Tools and techniques that can be used to develop the project team include the use of interpersonal skills, training, team building activities, ground rules, co-location, recognition and rewards, and personnel assessment tools.

These tools and techniques are aimed at fostering better communication, collaboration, and understanding among team members. They help to build confidence and trust among team members, encourage the sharing of ideas, and promote a sense of unity and shared purpose.

The outputs of developing the project team include team performance assessments and updates to enterprise environmental factors. These outputs help to track progress, identify areas for improvement, and ensure that the project team is working effectively towards achieving project goals.

Manage Project Team

Managing the project team during the implementation phase is a crucial task that requires close attention to the performance of the team. The purpose of this is to track the progress of the team, identify any issues that arise, and take corrective action to resolve them. It is important to note that general management skills are essential to managing the team effectively. This includes observing team behavior, providing feedback, and resolving conflicts.

To ensure that the project team is managed effectively, several inputs must be considered. These include the human resource management plan, project staff assignments, team performance assessments, issue log, work performance reports, organizational process assets, and more.

Various tools and techniques can be employed to manage the project team effectively. These include observational and conversational techniques, project performance appraisals, conflict management, and interpersonal skills.

The outputs of effective project team management include change requests, project management plan updates, project documents updates, enterprise environmental factors updates, and organizational process assets updates.

By managing the project team effectively, you can ensure that your project runs smoothly and is completed successfully.

Interpersonal Skills

Developing a project team is a challenging task that requires a project manager to possess a range of interpersonal or 'soft skills'. These skills are essential for successful project completion and team management. Among the key interpersonal skills required by a project manager are:

1. Communication skills: A project manager should be able to communicate effectively with team members, stakeholders, and clients. This includes being able to articulate project goals, expectations, and timelines clearly and concisely.

2. Emotional intelligence: A project manager should be able to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. This includes being able to empathize with team members, handle conflicts, and provide support when needed.

3. Conflict resolution: A project manager should be able to identify and resolve conflicts within the team. This includes being able to listen to all sides of an issue, find common ground, and negotiate a solution that is acceptable to all parties.

4. Negotiation: A project manager should be able to negotiate effectively with stakeholders and clients. This includes being able to identify and understand the needs of all parties and find a mutually beneficial solution.

5. Influence: A project manager should be able to influence team members and stakeholders to achieve project goals. This includes being able to inspire and motivate the team, build trust, and create a positive working environment.

6. Team building: A project manager should be able to build and maintain a cohesive project team. This includes being able to identify and address team dynamics, create a sense of belonging, and encourage collaboration.

7. Group facilitation: A project manager should be able to facilitate group discussions and meetings. This includes being able to manage the flow of conversation, keep discussions on track, and ensure that all team members are heard.

Duck Alignment Theory

To ensure the success of a project, all critical elements should be accounted for and placed in their proper positions. Duck Alignment Theory is a popular analogy that emphasizes the importance of these elements being aligned. Below are the critical elements that should be considered for alignment among project team members.

Duck 1: Comprehension - It is essential that all members of the project team comprehend the project mission and objectives. This means that everyone should have an identical understanding of what needs to be accomplished.

Duck 2: Motivation - For a project to be successful, all members of the team should feel motivated to achieve the team's objective. This can be achieved by creating a positive work environment and fostering a sense of ownership among team members.

Duck 3: Skills - To accomplish their assigned tasks, all members of the team should possess the necessary skills. It is important to identify the skills required for the project and ensure that team members have the appropriate training and resources to develop those skills.

Duck 4: Resources - The necessary resources should be allocated to the project team before the project begins. This includes funding, equipment, and materials required to accomplish the project's objectives.

Duck 5: Communication - Communication is crucial for project success. It is essential that all team members communicate effectively with each other and that there is a clear line of communication between all project stakeholders. This helps ensure that everyone is aware of the project's progress and that any issues can be addressed in a timely manner.

In summary, Duck Alignment Theory highlights the importance of ensuring that all critical project elements are aligned. By focusing on these critical elements, project teams can improve their chances of success and achieve their objectives.

Habits of Highly Effective People

The Habits of Highly Effective People are a set of characteristics that are important for all team members to possess. Firstly, being proactive is crucial, which involves using resourcefulness and initiative to identify and eliminate issues before they even arise. Secondly, it is important to begin with the end in mind, which involves developing a principle-centered personal mission statement before commencing any task. This mission statement will help to provide direction and focus on achieving the desired outcome.

Thirdly, putting first things first is important to make time for those things that are important to your personal mission. This includes prioritizing your tasks and ensuring that you are focusing on the most important ones. Fourthly, thinking win/win is critical to establishing agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. This involves looking for ways to create outcomes that benefit everyone involved.

Fifthly, seeking first to understand, then to be understood, is the most important principle of interpersonal relations. This means taking the time to listen and understand others' perspectives before trying to make yourself understood. Finally, synergizing is important as it involves leveraging individual differences to create a more integrated team. This means that each team member brings their unique strengths to the table, and together they can create something even greater than the sum of its parts.

Successful Leadership

Successful leadership is a crucial element of any successful organization. There are 10 key aspects of successful leadership that can help leaders to inspire and motivate their teams, build a positive culture, and achieve their long-term goals.

Firstly, leadership begins with the leader. As a leader, what you are and how you behave says much more than what you actually say. Therefore, it is essential to lead by example and set a positive tone for the team.

Secondly, putting people first is important. Leaders should not only make people work, but also inspire them to work. By showing genuine interest in their team members and fostering a positive work environment, leaders can inspire their teams to achieve great things.

Thirdly, it is crucial to know and respect the individuals in the team. By recognizing, incentivizing, and appreciating their hidden powers, leaders can unlock the full potential of their team members.

Fourthly, being a team builder is important. Leaders should create a team spirit, build pride in their team, give credit where due, and give some of the others a chance to shine. By doing so, leaders can foster a sense of cooperation and collaboration within their teams.

Fifthly, being a self-starter is important. Leaders should create plans and set them in motion, be a dreamer and a doer. By taking initiative and being proactive, leaders can inspire their teams to take action and achieve their goals.

Sixthly, it is important to allow oneself to be led. Leaders should be more interested in finding the best way, even if it is not their way. By being open to different perspectives and ideas, leaders can create a more inclusive and collaborative work environment.

Seventhly, leaders should have a sense of humor. They should be able to laugh at their mistakes and have fun in their work, which can help to create a positive and enjoyable work environment for the team.

Eighthly, leaders should look up from time to time. They should not be ‘head down - bum up’ all the time and should inspire the team to higher goals. By setting ambitious goals and encouraging their team to reach for the stars, leaders can create a culture of excellence and achievement.

Ninthly, leaders should be balanced persons. They should not just be the ‘head’; they should have a ‘heart’ too. By balancing their emotional intelligence with their intellectual abilities, leaders can create a more empathetic and compassionate work environment.

Finally, leaders should have vision. They should not let difficulties or loss interfere with their long-run aims and should hold their main course, even during stormy weather. By having a clear vision and a sense of purpose, leaders can inspire their teams to overcome any obstacle and achieve their long-term goals.

Types of Leaders

Leadership is an important aspect of any organization, and the type of leadership can have a significant impact on how the organization functions. There are three distinct types of leaders, each with its own characteristics and style. 

The first type of leader is the Autocratic leader. This type of leader assumes responsibility for setting all goals, and demands concentrated efforts from employees. Tight controls are put in place, and the leader understands people and their motives. This type of leadership can be effective in situations where quick decisions need to be made and there is no room for error.

The second type of leader is the Laissez-Faire leader. This type of leader exerts very little control, and instead becomes a source of information and suggestion for their team. Employees are given the freedom to work independently and make decisions on their own. This type of leadership can be effective when dealing with highly skilled employees who are self-motivated and require little guidance.

The third type of leader is the Democratic leader. This type of leader offers ideas and suggestions, and discusses them freely with the team. The leader consults with the team and takes their feedback into account when making decisions. This type of leadership can be effective in situations where collaboration and teamwork are important, and where employees are encouraged to share their ideas and opinions. 

Understanding the different types of leaders and their characteristics can help organizations identify which type of leadership is most appropriate for their specific situation.

Situational Leadership Model

Effective leadership requires an adaptive approach that takes into account the unique needs and abilities of each member of a project team. The Situational Leadership Model, developed by Hersey and Blanchard in 1977, proposes that a leader should shift between four distinct styles, namely Supporting, Coaching, Delegating, and Directing, based on the maturity level displayed by individual team members.

The model identifies four stages of maturity, each of which corresponds to a specific level of competence and confidence. In stage one, team members are generally enthusiastic about their role but lack the necessary skills and experience to perform effectively. In stage two, they have developed some competence but are still not entirely confident in their abilities. Stage three is characterized by team members who possess the necessary skills but still require occasional support and guidance. Finally, in stage four, team members have advanced skills and are capable of working independently with minimal supervision.

By matching their leadership approach to the maturity level of each team member, leaders can provide the necessary support and direction to help individuals develop their skills and reach their full potential. This approach requires flexibility, adaptability, and a willingness to adjust leadership style to suit the needs of the situation.

Directive Leadership vs. Supportive Leadership

Leadership is a key element in the success of any organization and there are two types of leadership styles that are commonly used - directive leadership and supportive leadership.

Directive leadership is a style where the leader is in charge and is responsible for structuring, controlling and supervising the work of their subordinates. This style is characterized by the fact that the leader tells their subordinates what they need to do, how to do it, when to do it, where to do it, and with whom to do it. The leader then follows up by closely supervising the work to ensure that it is being done correctly.

On the other hand, supportive leadership is a style where the leader takes a more facilitative approach. In this style, the leader supports, listens to, and facilitates the decision-making and problem-solving of their subordinates. This style is characterized by the extent to which the leader encourages their subordinates to take an active role in the decision-making process and supports them in their efforts to solve problems.

Examples of directive leadership include setting goals or objectives, defining the role of each person, planning work in advance, organizing resources, communicating job priorities, setting timelines, determining methods of evaluation for follower performance, showing or telling a follower how to do a specific task, and checking to see if work is done properly and on time.

Examples of supportive leadership include asking for suggestions or input on task accomplishment, facilitating follower problem-solving in task accomplishment, listening to the problems of the follower (job or non-job related), encouraging or reassuring followers that they can do the task, communicating information about the total organization's operation, disclosing information about themselves (job or non-job related), and praising followers for task accomplishment.

Both directive and supportive leadership styles have their advantages and disadvantages and can be effective in different situations. It is up to the leader to determine which style is most appropriate for their organization and employees to achieve success.

Delegating to the Project Team

When delegating tasks to your project team, it is important to have effective delegation techniques in place to ensure the success of the project. Here are some tips to help you delegate effectively:

1. Choose a capable person: When delegating a task, always aim to choose the most capable person for the job. This will ensure that the job is done efficiently and effectively. It is also important to help the person develop their skills and abilities as an individual.

2. Explain the objectives: It is important to explain the task thoroughly and clearly to the person you are delegating to. Make sure that they understand the objectives and the importance of the task. Once you have explained the task, it is important to step back and allow the person to take ownership of the task.

3. Give the person the means and authority to do the task: To delegate effectively, it is important to give the person the necessary resources and authority to do the task. This will help them prove themselves and their ability to complete the task successfully.

4. Keep in contact: While it is important to step back and allow the person to take ownership of the task, it is also important to keep in contact with them. Supervise only as much as necessary to ensure that the task is completed successfully. Regular check-ins can help to ensure that the task is on track and any issues are addressed in a timely manner.

By following these delegation techniques, you can ensure that your project team is set up for success and that tasks are completed efficiently and effectively.