9.5.12

How the Executive Management Should Get Involved in Project Management

Why is it difficult for organizations to move ahead towards implementation of professional project management processes? For some of the following reasons:

  • Project management appears to involve the shifting of the poles of power, taking power from functional managers and giving power to the Project Manager (this is only partially true, since functional managers will actually be the first to benefit from Project Management);
  • Project management involves horizontal control with regards to the financial implications and on how each team member carries out his work on the project. Success of the project is the responsibility of Project Manager, and therefore lack of performance can not go unnoticed;
  • Project management involves what may be perceived as an overhead devoted to planning, reporting, financial accounting, etc. This effort cannot be done by the Project Manager alone, but only together with the team. This leads to frustrations that Project Management is actually an increase in overhead and bureaucratization. 
Therefore, executive management involvement in the above levels of maturity is required in order to achieve the acceptance of the organization for the objectives and processes for Project Management.

Executive management must visibly support actions to establish concepts of Project Management in the organization, or the other employees will think the higher management is not convinced of the necessity of this action, the functional managers will be reluctant to give support to the project managers and the entire process will be hindered. Often, perception is formed even in the executive managers‘ eyes that the Project Management "does not fit with our organization" and the whole process may eventually be abandoned.

But why is it important for executive managers to implement project management processes? In organizations where the concept of Project Management function effectively, the role of Executive Manager change. Initially, the executive managers were involved in carrying out everyday projects, especially in terms of initiatives or strategic customers. But as project management matures, executives get a more passive role, allowing them to focus on what should really be their job: planning and long-term strategy. As they gain confidence in the Project managers, executive managers increasingly rely more on them for daily decisions and consider Project Management has a fundamental role in ensuring the success of their organization.

In conclusion, a mature organization in terms of Project Management is manifested by:

  • Understanding Project Management's benefits up to the Executive role;
  • Continuous and visible support from senior managers for Project Management;
  • A desire from senior managers not to get involved in the daily activity details and to rely on Project Managers to provide high-level information relevant to them.

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