Project Leadership – A Call to Action

Project Leadership – A Call to Action

Today’s Challenge

Over the past 30 plus years, I have talked to numerous managers, senior managers, and executives in Fortune 500, Mid-Range, and Small Businesses and intentionally Not for Profit organizations. (Unfortunately some organizations are non-profit unintentionally).

A common frustration with the Project Management community is many Project Managers DO NOT LEAD. I am m constantly told, at best they manage and in most cases, they administer projects. That is, they rely on someone else to lead the project. For example, with many IT projects, many Project Managers rely on the Technical Architects to lead the project because the Project Manager does not have a good understanding of the solution required. As a result, project completion dates are pushed to the right and cost over-runs are a common occurrence. Below are some symptom examples of this challenge in organizations.

Challenge – For-Profit Organizations

As a member of an organization’s Senior Leadership Team, how many times during a calendar year: Are you apologizing to your Stakeholders that a key initiative will be delivered late? Reallocating resources from other projects to fix a late “troubled project or, initiative,” resulting in two projects being late and over budget (the initial late project and the pilferage project ) only to steal resources from the next troubled project and repeat the process all over again? Or, worst, back-peddling your discussions with the Financial Community that revenues from an initiative will be pushed to the right because a key program or initiative is running behind schedule? These are all symptoms that an organization’s project leadership capabilities are not optimal. The madness needs to stop.

Challenge – Intentionally Not for Profit Organizations

As a member of a Not for Profit organization’s Senior Management Team, how many times during a calendar year: Are you telling your Board of Directors, we do not have enough resources (financial or people) to complete all of our initiatives in our fiscal year? Cutting programs if significant budget increases are not realized? Are organizational stakeholders frustrated with the current project leadership on key initiatives because the project manager is reacting to problems and NOT leading the initiative? These are all symptoms that an organization’s project leadership capabilities are not optimal. The madness needs to stop.

A Solution

To solve this challenge, Project Managers need to “step up” and lead their projects and initiatives. Leadership requires one to:

  • Provide a complete vision of the goals and objectives of the specific initiative/solution;
  • Ensure the right team members, with the right skills, are working on the initiative,
  • Anticipate potential roadblocks and have solutions ready before the project team is delayed,
  • Ensure the team is inspired to perform their best and complete their assignments on time,
  • Ensure the team is recognized for their performance at the end of the project and,
  • Coach each team member, at the end of the work effort, on lessons learned and work with each team member on their specific professional development needs.

There are other activities Project Leaders need to perform during a project or initiative but, they will not be covered during this blog.

How We May be Able to Assist

Hendon Group, Inc. may be able to assist your organization with:

* Identifying (in a non-threatening way) your Project Management team(s) project leadership development needs,
* Help your organization build individualized and specific project leadership development plans,
* Help provide development activities to help your organization improve your team’s project leadership capabilities on key programs and initiatives.

If you would like to discuss how Hendon Group, Inc. may be able to assist your organization, please do not hesitate to contact us.

PMP® is a certification mark of the Project Management Institute registered in the United States and other nations.


Author Ira Hendon (MBA, PMP®) is an expert in program/project leadership consulting and protecting intellectual property. For a no-risk consultation, contact Hendon Group for more information and expert advice. Hendon Group is a full-service program & project leadership professional services & consulting firm, which focuses on helping organizations implement strategic and global initiatives.  To learn more and connect with Hendon Group, email us:; call: 866.201.0147; Or visit our LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook business pages.
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