July 23, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Book Review: The Conscious Project Leader

By Linky van der Merwe

The Conscious Project LeaderWhen I was contacted by Colin Ellis to do a review of his new book: “The Conscious Project Leader”, I was curious to find out what new can be said about this well covered topic?  I was pleasantly surprised!

Colin has a fresh perspective on project management, resulting in a book that you cannot put down once you start reading it. His wisdom comes from two decades of experience (in the coal face, as he calls it) and from doing projects on three different continents, Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Colin is also a speaker, writer and mentor on Conscious Project Leadership. One of his outstanding qualities, seems to be his sense of humour.

Leadership and Culture

The book is written from the perspective of how to create a culture of success for your projects, your team and yourself. Although leadership is covered in detail, much focus is also given to culture; like hiring, having a vision, collaboration, stakeholder satisfaction and celebrating success.

He covers just enough technical project management to make the book complete and without any unnecessary jargon that may confuse a reader. It is written in an informal style that is very engaging.

The chapters are short and to the point. There are numerous references to other books to read, videos to watch and actions to take, putting the reader on a journey of self-discovery and development towards becoming a conscious leader.

Lift Project Performance

What I compassionately agree with Colin, is that projects can change the world and that it’s frustrating that a big percentage of projects continue to fail. This book is his contribution to improve project success by helping professionals to be great project leaders and to give them the knowledge to be consistently successful. Another point we agree on is that we believe project success stories make the best lessons to learn.

Colin argues that projects are about people and that perhaps too much emphasis is placed on methods and processes and not enough on developing leaders who are responsible and accountable for project delivery.

Although I don’t disagree with that, I believe that developing leadership skills is equally important to having the right foundation of using methods and processes consistently. Training approaches should put equal weighting on both hard, as well as soft skills.

Conscious Leadership

Once you finish reading, Colin reminds you that this is just the beginning of your journey towards Conscious Project Leadership and that you have a big responsibility to apply your knowledge and to create the culture that will contribute to success. He challenges his fellow project practitioners to help make our profession proud.

Recommendation

Compared to other Project Leadership books that I have reviewed before, like “Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers by Michel Dion and The Power of Project Leadership by Susanne Madsen, I think this book complements what is already written.

It is modern in the sense that you can read it on a mobile device and visit the links at the end of chapters immediately. Colin has also prepared relevant quotes that he encourages the reader to share with their social networks using #CPL. It may start a movement under professionals who are committed to change.

I can recommend this book to all project practitioners, PMO managers/directors and people who have the opportunity to coach and mentor new and inexperienced project leaders.

You will find this book on Amazon and on Colin’s website, The Conscious Project Leader.

 

Project Management: 5 Metrics to Measure Project Success

By Maricel Rivera

project success metricsSuccess isn’t absolute. At the fundamental level, project success is difficult to define. According to Computer World, the usual group of project stakeholders – project manager, team members, sponsor, end users and top management – may give the project very different success ratings at any given point in time.

The triangle of time, scope and budget is just the starting point for project managers, as hurdling through the triple constraint is expected for the project’s output to be a success.

Then, there’s the fact that project success goes beyond just the output. As stated by the PMI, “Based on today’s project environments, project managers need to broaden their perspective to include other criteria to satisfy stakeholders and deliver business results.”

How to measure project success

Here are five project success metrics to consider.

#1 Client satisfaction

The project’s end result may squarely fit within the designated time, budget and scope requirements, but is the client happy? Clients, sometimes, cannot eloquently explain what they want, and it is up to the project manager to figure things out. Does the project pave the way to more future partnerships? If not, is the client willing to put his reputation on the line and recommend your company to his peers and colleagues?

#2 Quality of delivery

A project may elicit results the client absolutely loves, but if the people involved in its execution had to go through endless clarification stages and endure unnecessary headaches while working their way to completion, the project may not necessarily be a success. Knowing how team members feel about the overall project can prompt project managers to devise ways to better communicate and define future delivery objectives.

#3 User adoption

A software application as an end product can only be successful if the intended end users actually use it, and use it often. Aside from usage frequency, other questions to ask can include:

  • Is the software user-friendly and easy to navigate?
  • How is the learning curve?
  • Does it address prior user challenges?
  • Overall, is the product an enabler or a nuisance?

#4 Value realization

Apart from satisfying the needs of its clients, a company must also realize its business goals, such as ROI (rate of return), NPV (net present value), among others, for every project it takes on. Shorter time-to-market and faster project delivery benefits not just the client but the business as well, in that this ultimately leads to cost efficiency and more time to take on more projects.

#5 Lessons learned

For every project, successful or otherwise, there are lessons to be learned. While failure is oftentimes seen as a better teacher than success, two important factors to look into when evaluating the success of a project are:

  • Is the project instrumental to increasing the knowledge of its stakeholders?
  • Does it better prepare the company for future endeavors?

Conclusion

Keep in mind, to ensure success above and beyond the output, project and business objectives must be aligned. The above are just five measures to look into when evaluating the success of your projects. What other measures would you like to add? Please add your thoughts in the comments section.

 

About the Author: Maricel Rivera writes content for Comindware, the company behind Comindware Project, a state-of-the-art project management solution providing unique automated scheduling and unmatched collaboration capabilities for professional project execution.

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