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Behavioral Aspects of Project Management Essay

Organizational culture can influence the overall success of a project. Unfortunately, in the given scenario the project is both behind schedule and over budget. Several key team members left in disgust and the morale of the remaining team is low and they fear they will be doing extra work without compensation. In this scenario project leadership is essential to the projects success. This project team needs a leader who can not only get this project back on track but can also build the morale of this demoralized team. This project cannot be managed in a routine fashion. Already behind schedule and over budget, this project will require innovation, skill and a highly competent project manager in order to proceed.

1. How does organizational culture influence the selection, sponsorship, prioritization, and ultimate success of projects?One of the most critical factors for project success is organizational culture and behavior to support project management process. As a result, it is highly important for organizations and managers to understand the influence of organizational behavior and culture in order to meet ultimate success of projects. In this case, we should first know the definition of organizational culture.

Organizational culture is made up of attitudes, beliefs, values and behavior of its employees. It is the workplace environment formulated from the interaction of the employees in the workplace. Organizational culture is defined by all of the life experiences, strengths, weaknesses, education, upbringing, and so forth of the employees. While executive leaders play a large role in defining organizational culture by their actions and leadership, all employees contribute to the organizational culture. (1)(2)Organizational culture is important to a project success for several reasons. They are also an important source of stability and continuity to the organization, which provides a sense of security to its members.

2. In what ways could organizational culture create conditions that could lead to the scenario described above?Failing to initiate “crucial conversations” may be the single biggest cause of project failure, according to preliminary findings of an ongoing study on project management. Thus, project managers’ inability to talk to people about five often-occurring negative situations frequently leads to failure.

Setting arbitrary deadlines and inadequate resources that “set up a project to fail”.

Failing to provide the necessary leadership, political clout or energy for a project.

Skirting or manipulating the project priority-setting process.

An unwillingness by team members to support projects as required.

Failing to acknowledge project problems until it is too late for remedial action. (6)A failure to clearly and completely define the requirements results in building the wrong features or leaving gaps in the features needed.

New or state-of-the-art technology is causing unanticipated problems.

A poor technical design doesn’t allow the solution to be easily modified or is not scalable.

Requirements are not frozen late in the project, and continued change requests start to cause the project to drift.

Technology components do not fit together as designed.

Poor initial testing techniques cause repeated errors and rework in later tests. (7)3. What role does project leadership play in the success of projects?Project managers have a wide range of responsibilities and face a number of challenges (challenges relate to fundamental functions: planning, organizing, hiring, coordinating, and monitoring) in a variety of areas, on a daily basis. A project manager’s role is a challenging one and requires equal measures of good organizational ability, good people skills, and the technical capacity to judge both individual performance and project milestones.

Project leaders play a significant role in the success of a project. With poor leadership, a sophisticated tool or technique only gives a bad leader the opportunity to do more damage. The person may be a better project manager, but he or she may not be a better project leader. (8) A project leader might contribute different roles in the success of a project. The new role of the project manager requires an ultimate knowledge of the strategy of the project. The PL is responsible for observing and analyzing project process and project structure. (14)A project leader must possess a certain set of combination skills and characteristics that can be used to manage projects successfully including:The diplomatic skills to solicit input and negotiate compromises, having the ability to ask penetrating questions, identifies unstated assumptions, flexible enough to roll with the changes, and resolve personnel conflicts along with more systematic management skills. (12)(13)(15)

Also,Developing a grand visionBuilding, leading and mentoring the project management teamLeadership, Facilitation, communicative, Selling (promote and sell the project both within and outside the organization), Presentation skillsPeople-management skills such as constructive feedback, conflict resolution, managing individual styles and personalitiesSkills at interfacing across the organization and removing obstacles for the teamAbility to accept criticism, feedback, and input from othersSkills in using team-based tools such as brainstorming, organizing, decision-making, Project management, conflict resolution, and so on (14)(10)4. Does this role change under the conditions described in the scenario? If so, how and why? If not, why not?

To overcome with this scenario, organization should hire a skilled and innovated PM who is able to lead perfectly and solve the above scenario and get the project back on track. (16)In this situation, the new leader must be able to analyze what resources were lost, when key team members left, create a new organizational culture according to the project, and create an inspiring corporate culture that inspires, empowers and energizes project team members. Generally, the project in this situation needs a leader to have enough power to make him/her able for changing the organizational culture, hiring new staffs, offering project members a sense of common purpose beyond the day-to-day tasks, making work exciting, moving people with a compelling vision, inspiring and encouraging team members to act perfectly for achieving performance. The other important thing which is so vital in any relationship and the new leader must pay attention is building up the morale and trust among team members. The new leader can help build trust faster by following these 10 practical steps:Know the players.

Confirm leader role.

Identify preconceptions.

Set expectations.

Involve the team in decisions.

Do what you said you were going to do.

Deliver informative status reports.

Be honest.

(17)(18)By bringing a new PM to the project according to case scenario, the role of Project leader would not change. Only, the new leader duties will increase since key member of the project left while the rest of team has lost their trust and motive and feel frustrated and stressed. As a result, it would be much harder for the new leader to reorganize the project progress, project members, build up and improve morale and trust within the project team-members, and let the team members know how important they are for the organization and project. In this case, leader will identify and recognize each member’s duty, skills and their job within this project process and it would be easier for the leader to define tasks.

Thus, defining an effective communication plan is critical success through the course of a project. Leader must describe the project in a clear way to ensure that all tasks and responsibilities are going to be done on time and meet the schedules and deadlines. At this time it’s become highly important for a project manager to decide whether he needs to hire some people to replace the key people or he needs to compensate the people that around in rough time with the project with the salary he would pay to new people because project is already running behind schedule.

In such case the second option is more suitable, assuming the current group has the capabilities to complete the project, since project is already over budget.

5) How can a project manager build and manage a successful project team?Building a good team is extremely challenging and rewarding at the same time. It calls for some astute planning. The three most important lessons are: be true to the team’s vision, give people space to operate and develop as leaders and remain intellectually sharp as a team. The first will give the team purpose and direction, the second will give them the ability to deliver and the last will keep the team young and jumping out of their beds on Mondays.

Team building in this context is a prized skill that managers are willing to invest in. It has become critical to find “team players” when selecting people for a job or business project. An organization’s potential will end where the imagination of a sharp team does. There is a lot more involved than simple complimentary skills when building an elite team. Here are seven practices at the heart of building a first-rate team.

1- Get the best on boardA PM should get only those people on board his bus who really understand and value the vision of the project. Also he should make sure and inform those people that it might be a rough or smooth ride so they don’t have any surprises2- Align tasks to skillsIf you allow your team members to progress into the areas where they excel and are interested in, you will effectively keep them engaged and free yourself from the risk of having disgruntled and frustrated team members.

3- Strike the right balanceMost projects require a mix of activities. A team needs to have a balanced set of skills, especially if the majority of the members are specialists in their field (consultants, analysts, IT experts). All skills will come into play while the team carries out its task, and any lack can result in the hampering of the project.

4- Manage the team mixIt is difficult to predict whether the team mix is correct and if it facilitates success; therefore, constant monitoring is indispensable. Allowing someone to remain on the team when they are a mismatch can prove counter productive. Other members may become resentful when no action is taken and they are obligated to cover for a non-productive member.

5- Give the credit and take the blameDo not indulge in fault-finding or blame games. Pigeonholing a particular member of the team may spread negative vibes within the team and cost you time and quality. Celebrating every small success and appreciating team members will build a sense of camaraderie between team members.

6- Be hard on tasks and soft on peopleThe focus should be on getting the job done. Giving space to every member of the team would allow them to develop their true potential as leaders. A good player always passes the ball. Even superstars need to work as a team player. Individual accomplishments mean little if they don’t enable the team to succeed.

Q 6If the new Project manager is able to apply the effective leadership style, and create a team harmony between old team members and new comers, that will certainly revitalize the project Effectiveness. Together with project management discipline, addressing these items will dramatically increase the probability of project success. As we know that just as the main reasons that projects fail are related to human nature and interaction, so are our keys to project management effectiveness. We find that o¬nly when the appropriate culture, mindset and behaviors are in place are the project management processes able to drive value.

If the project manager is able to insert these changes the organizational culture will change to one of high morale, employee satisfaction, employee involvement, formation of groups, open communication lines, and higher employee motivation, employees embracing the change process, understanding both the ups and downs of the project, like the schedule and budget issues mentioned in the scenario, etc.)Selection & rejuvenating the team: As the project is already behind schedule and over budget, so the Project Manager should focus on selection process more seriously. There are old team members who are already working on the project with lack of resources and guidelines. To relieve these work forces from work overload, there are needs of new workforces to join as team and work together effectively. If the project manager is able to spend more time in selection process that will bring the best into the project board/team, which will certainly save, time and cost.

Assign and align task as per the expertise: Once the selection is done, Project manger should categorize the tasks and subtasks as per the critical and non critical path and empower the team members as per their expertise, so they don’t caught up with authentication. This process will enable the project team to work at their best with self-motivation and develop a high degree of morale. Optimum uses of human resources at their synergy will help the project to run smoothly and reduce the project delay.

Team synchronization and acculturation: A balance in terms of personality and temperament also needs to be achieved, which will promote better relationships between members of the team. Closely watching the interpersonal dynamics within the team. So by bringing the people together who have the skill sets along with the adaptability and flexibility to work with different people. Synchronized and organizational acculturation enable the project too speed up the scheduled task without any constraints and develop team satisfaction.

Communication and collaboration: The concurrent changes within the team rejuvenation and synchronization will enable the project team to communicate effectively and bring the sense of collaboration with in the players. As the project is already behind the schedule, so open line communication and collaborative measures will be developed.

Effective measurements: Once the organizational culture is set and adapted by the project team, there will be an easy access for Project manager to evaluate the project success. Evaluation is very critical at this point of time, as project being behind the schedule and over the budget; project manager should imply the every allocated resource at their optimum use and assessment of every activities and achievements within the due time.

Q7)An effective project team leader is a “social architect” who understands the interaction of organizational and behavioral variables can foster a climate of active participation and can minimize dysfunctional conflict. To be effective and to make better relationship among team members, the team leader must identify major issues associated with three dimensions. These are team related with emphasis on behavioral aspects such as team structure, trust and respect, or barriers to team development and so on also project tasks and resource related to it such as goals and objectives, planning and scope management are essential. What if the other essential ingredient, the team, the followers? Ideally, the more the team can be motivated and empowered to “take the bull by the horns”, the more productive they become and the less direction and control is required. This has led to the concept of Self Directed Work Teams (Swats).

According to Batten, there are 6 things that members of a successful team need from their leader to built better relationship:Expectation (Tell me what you expect of me)Opportunity (Give me an opportunity to perform)Feedback (Let me know how I am doing)Guidance (Give me guidance when and where I need it)Reward (Reward me according to my contribution)Friendly environment (give me open working-environment)Given these prerequisites, both the members of a project team, the followers, and their leader can be expected to progress and develop interactively. The leader focuses successively on telling, selling, gelling and producing project activities, in which the idea is for the team to become an SDWT. However, this only occurs as a result of careful team development and typically advances interactively through four distinct phases of team leadership and “follower ship” evolution. The four phases of team development have been characterized as “forming, storming, norming and performing”.

Relationship among Team Members and External resources:Building relationship among the project team and the external resources is the main part for the project to serve the project of the company. We have to identify their level of involvement and work with them accordingly. The key to getting the most out of the outsourcing relationship with the internal project team is to have a good plan in place before hand and to work that plan, but remain flexible. The company must have a clear business goal and an understanding of the role the outsourcing partner which they will play in helping attain that goal.

Performance metrics for the outsourced engagement must be in place so that the client company knows weather or not the outsourcing, train and educate the staff in the project management model. And, most importantly, manage communication effectively. Again and effective communication among team members and any outsourced contractor is probably the most critical outsourcing success factor. In fact, it is so critical in a situation where professional services are being provided and contracted for creating a maintaining sound relationship with external resourcesQ8) how would these strategies differ under the conditions described in the scenario.

The team is in bad situation, and the previous team has been totally scattered. For this instance the strategies we have defined for the relationship among team members and with external resources will not be the same. So the managing change strategy will be good to handle the situation. So what I believe and also depending upon my finding a project manager should comply with certain strategies which will be helpful according to the current situation. First of all PM will find out that what the reason behind the old situation was? And why the previous manager left also why the team members are scattered and having low moral.

Communication with the team members will be the key tool to identify the problem and emotion individually. After identifying the all the key problems in points the role of the PM will to point our the points to coach the employees or team players and to make their moral high, so the PM should inspire people to move forward and make objectives real and relevant. It will also be helpful for the team members to built and maintain the external relationship. Also encourage the team members continue to achieve the final goal according to their task with responsibility on time is the one of the important strategy too. Although several key team members have quit in disgust, the PM should design the team again, get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels.

As the project is behind schedule and over budget, the PM should review the post vision, get the team to establish a simple and right vision, and then focus on emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive the team effectively by building cohesion in between them also with external resources. The project is behind schedule and over budget, the PM should review the post vision, get the team to establish a simple and right vision, and then focus on emotional and creative aspects necessary to drive the team effectively. Now to let the work done properly PM has to take an empowerment action by removing obstacles, enable constructive feedback and lots of support, also PM should reward and recognize progress and achievements. PM also has to highlight achieved milestones time by time.

CONCLUSION:In this paper we have addressed the influence organizational culture can have on successful project management. The organizational mission, vision, and value statements shape the expected ethical behavior of individuals. Leadership is an integral part of successful project completion. Effective leadership can influence the moral of a dysfunctional team by building trust within a team. In building an effective project team, the project manager needs to set established principles and hold team members accountable for performance and behavior that is consistent with the organizational culture.

Different strategies are needed to successfully manage relationships among team members and the relationship between the team and external resources. Establishing achievable outcomes and linking performance to those outcomes allows team members to recognize achievements. Individual success leads to team success and ultimately organizational success. A culture that supports these strategies will have a competitive edge in the area of successful project management

References:

1.Human Resources, Change Management, http://humanresources.about.com/od/organizationalculture/Organizational_Culture_Corporate_Culture_in_Organizations.htm2.Organizational culture, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organizational_culture3.Strategic Leadership and Decision Making (ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE) ,aa


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