V IE WPOIN TS
been thought unimaginable. As a result, they take nothing
for granted, purposefully seeking out and assessing anomalies,
errors and impending problems—even those that are subtle or
hidden. They take seriously the things that people usually do
not want to notice, surfacing and sharing their own concerns
and striving to create an environment where their people feel
safe to do the same.
Program leaders recognize the importance of making timely interventions
when problems are identified. They
take responsibility and encourage others to do the same—“the buck stops
everywhere.” They see plans through
However, they realize that plans
may endanger people if they are followed blindly and rigidly. They worry
about mindlessness as a consequence
of automatic, habitual behaviors and
repetitive tasks. Adaptation, improvisation and creative solutions to unpredictable challenges are all encouraged.
They defer to those with operational expertise to make quick decisions and take corrective action when
unexpected situations arise.
By managing the unexpected in
an organization’s project portfolio, a
leader can use adversity as a springboard for high performance in future
to scenario-planning to prepare for
unusual or rare contingencies. These
also help to identify thresholds and
escalation points at which decision-making will pass upwards or to those
Having developed an information-rich environment, program
leaders develop a good grasp of the current “health” of the
system by turning data into intelligence through the identification of patterns and trends.
They often compare current events with past learning in an
attempt to predict future outcomes. Yet they are reluctant to
oversimplify interpretations and are wary of taking information out of context. They use the knowledge gained to allocate
resources flexibly and to develop adaptable plans and strategies
to meet changing circumstances. They shape and share the big
picture proactively with all stakeholders.
PhD, is a professor
change at Cranfield
VOICES ON PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Where possible, leaders create space to reflect, conceptualize
and visualize the effects and consequences of their decisions
before taking action. They know that unexpected problems will arise to which the rulebook does not apply. By
involving others and sharing responsibility for the problem
with people at all levels of the program, leaders distribute
responsibility and decision-making authority to those with
the appropriate expertise and knowledge, depending on
the nature of the problem. Offline training and rehearsals
are given high priority, and significant attention is paid
PhD, is a program
lecturer at Cranfield
RAISE YOUR VOICE No one knows project management better than you, the practitioners “in the trenches.” So PM Network launched its Voices on Project Management column.
Every month, project managers will share ideas, experiences and opinions on everything from
sustainability to talent management, and all points in between. If you’re interested in contributing,
please send your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.