Project Management: TOP 3 Priority & Window on Leadership Development
June 17, 2014
As Christian chief executives, we're responsible for effectively stewarding the human and financial resources the Lord has entrusted to us.
One way of doing this better is by reaching for excellence in how we and our companies manage projects, both internally and in serving our customers.
You may not see yourself as leading a company that is deeply engaged in a bundle of projects at any point in time - often amounting to half or more of your overall activity - but this overlooked fact is key to seizing a powerful lever to improve performance and strengthen organizational capability.
Although many companies are almost entirely project-oriented (e.g., construction, consulting, M&A, moving companies, job shop manufacturers, design firms, etc.), the typical company's staff is devoting 50% or more of their time to projects (e.g., market expansion, new product/ service roll-outs, event management, annual inventory, trade certifications, annual audits, new information systems/software, major capacity or improvement projects, etc.).
Given this reality, it should be no surprise that:
- Harvard Business Reviews archives list more than 70 articles on project management published over the past decade alone.
- Surveys of major companies show that more than 80% of global executives view project management as a core competency and 60% of senior executives say that strong project management discipline is a "Top 3"priority for the future.
The fact is that 50-80% of all major projects and programs fail to deliver their planned impact. An estimated 30% of all project time and resources are squandered due to inefficiencies or lack of project clarity and discipline. Given that 50% of company spending and staff effort relates to projects, most companies have an opportunity through achieving project management excellence to improve their profitability by 15% of revenue...more than the entire pretax profit currently enjoyed by most solid companies!
Studies show that highly developed project management capabilities can improve a company's on-target project performance by 50-66%. Further, projects are an ideal proving ground to develop interdisciplinary understanding and leadership skills for our next generation of company leaders.
What's a company leader to do?
It all begins by re-orienting our people to accurately see project management for what it is, a high potential opportunity to improve company capabilities and performance that also serves to train and grow our future leaders. Our role as senior leader includes casting a shared vision for all to rally around. This extends to the adoption of shared terminology, reporting formats, and project planning/ review/approval processes (i.e., protocol).
Is Project Management Important?
From our recent two-month series of C12 business segments, entitled Project Management 101 and Project Management 201, we have highlighted three vital areas for clarity that need to be on our radar screen along the way:
- Developing a common team project management Process & Protocol to be used as a standard language and approach for all projects. This protocol must be embraced and enforced by the CEO and all management team members. Simple and visual is always better than complicated reporting and operating methods.
- Defining a clear project Charter (overarching scope, project plan, deliverables, key assumptions, customer/supplier responsibilities, etc.).
- Enforcing Change Management discipline to keep all parties up-to- date and properly accountable for actions and to prevent the "scope creep" affliction so common with less disciplined project management. This includes processing formal, real-time revisions to scope/timing/ pricing/delivery with clear sign-offs by all parties.
By becoming excellent in this key area, we can enhance the capability and health of our businesses while developing our people into top-notch professionals and future leaders. In the process, we'll set our companies apart from 80+% of our industry peers by reliably delivering expected project results with minimal waste and maximum return on our effort and investment. It all starts with the CEO/Owner, who must envision and ultimately put his/her "John Hancock" on a fitting and disciplined project protocol, as we lead in a way that better stewards our resources and blesses our employees, customers, and suppliers.
About the C12 Group
The C12 Group is America's leading executive roundtable for Christian CEOs and owners building great businesses for a greater purpose. C12 Members gather monthly for a unique, proven peer forum to engage in worthwhile continual learning, brainstorming, intentional accountability, and to share proven best practices, combined with eternal perspective. Members also receive monthly counsel through one-on-one sessions, an annual business review, and an online library of high-impact leadership tools. Founded in 1992 by Buck Jacobs, dedicated Christian author and CEO, C12's mission is to change the world by bringing forth the Kingdom of God in the marketplace through the companies and lives of those He calls to run businesses for Him.
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