Transforming: Good to Great Project Manager

Transformation:Good To Great Project Manager?

Jim Collins Way of Good to Great

James C “Jim” Collins is well known business consultant, author, who studied at Stanford and worked at McKinsey & Co. Jim Collins after a five years of detailed research involving more than thousands of companies (1435 to be precise) analyzed for 40+ years, in 2001 published a research. So how did Jim and his team identified companies for this research?

After the leap, a company had to generate cumulative stock returns that exceeded the general stock market by at least three times over 15 years”

Good To Great Project ManagerThe findings in “Good to Great” helped researcher to understand

  • Why only certain business organizations are highly and consistently successful over a period of time whereas others could not keep up the performance consistently?
  • What was the difference between these two set of companies that led researcher categorize them as “Good Companies” and “Great Companies”?
  • What it takes for “Good Companies” to leap forward as “Great Companies”?

Further the research paper (which later on published as a book with same name) characterized reasons of success of great companies as

  • Level Five Leadership
  • Hedgehoging
  • Uncompromising habit to be transparent, to be honest to disclose facts
  • Organizations are culturally disciplined, not driven by individual or any change program

Good to Great Project Manager: Good Project Manager Vs Great Project ManagerThe research paper called “Good to Great” was highly received and appreciated by the industry. It has become a great resource being referred by for global businesses and business leaders.

Good To Great Project Manager

Though it took lot of research efforts and analysis for Jim Collin and his team, I am wondering why not draw a parallel between good project manager and great project manager? After all, Good to Great talks about Level Five Leadership, Transparency, Discipline, Hedgehoging; and such distinguishing qualities. Here is an attempt to draw the analogy and identify the distinct qualities that would differentiate Great Project Manager from Good Project Manager. Let’s look at the table/list below.

Good Project Manager Great Project Manager
Value addition / contribution to organization Get the work done Invaluable
Accountability Mostly limited to my project Full accountability, thus takes on risks with controlled manner but with full zest
Defines Success  When project gets delivered on time, within budget with desired quality. When desired Impact is realized for our business as well as customer. Of course, for him/her, it is given that the project should be delivered on time, within budget with desired quality.
Real work Is done when project plan is worked out really well Starts after detailing project plan. S/he is ready for risks, issues/incidents, resource fluctuations, scope changes, deviation in sponsor’s interests
Management Approach Let’s face the issue as it occurs, but be prepared. Proactive and initiative; anticipate risks as well as opportunities and align project activities to manage those, right from beginning
Behavior/ Personality Trait Leader Leader + Teacher + Motivator + Listener
Team is to be Managed, controlled to deliver project Motivated, Inspired, should be given freedom to perform best of their abilities for the benefit of project
Processes Are to be followed Are to be aligned for success of project than sake of following those. Processes should be improved to keep our business relevant
Project management tool Are good for planning and makes my job easier Understands that at the end of the day, it is a tool. But s/he ‘encourage team members to participate and engage’ in order to make informed decision. Uses technology to save tie and remain productive. Thus deeply understands underline importance of a good project management software.
 Communication Knows that it happens over the period, and he/she can take action as appropriate S/he is very clear of communication requirement in the project. Well defined strategy for Clear and unambiguous communication at every level
Thought process Thinks what a good project manager would do. Takes unconventional paths, convinces management, team as well as customers to dive in and make it happen

You will be lucky to have Great Project Manager working for your business. It is not to say that Good Project Managers are needed in any organization. Like in any job market, the situation today is such that there is a lot of influx of newbie , wannable/ next gen project manager, there are accidental project manager. Your organization can survive and continue to do business with set of good project managers however if you intend to take the great leap forward, you should look for the great project managers.

What is your experience about great project manager? Let me know your opinion, experience about it?

Additional readings about project management, leadership

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