NB: I wrote and published this post originally on my old blog between 2013 and 2014 whilst still in my full-time corporate career.
It has been over a year now since my “picture” of project management and technology projects in particular started crumbling and I started writing down my first reflections on what I thought are some big lessons I have learned. Today, the first post finally made it to the publishing button.
The perhaps single most important learning I would name is “A project – and even more so a technology project – is nothing without its people!”
Project teamwork – Success is a team effort.
Great and innovative ideas and solutions are not born out of a single mind, but through an exchange of knowledge, skill and experience. However, it is not enough to have a team of super brains – they must work in partnership and towards common goals, which is where the leadership comes in.
“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra.” –H.E. Luccock
Project leadership – Leadership focuses on a compelling vision and starts within.
In fact, a purposeful vision and roadmap to success will not only provide the project team with focus, motivation and direction, it will also help build relationships and get buy-in beyond the team members with the end-customers and senior stakeholders. For the project leader it means really focusing and building on their relationship, team building and people management skills, and ultimately starting from within and leading by example.
“The P in Project Management is as much about ‘people management’ as it is about ‘project management’.” –Cornelius Fichtner
Technology projects – A system is nothing without its users.
In the context of technology projects there’s yet another dimension to the ‘nothing without people concept’ as so often technology seems to get deployed – just because it exists. NOT to tackle real, specific business issues.
I believe that the way to change, improve – or in buzzwords ‘transform’ – procedures and ways of working is by talking to, engaging and understanding people’s needs and the situations and scenarios they face on a daily basis – and that right from the start and throughout the whole project – and then match technology capabilities to them; NOT the other way round, deploying technology tools and applications first and then throwing them at the users. It’s about facilitating and enabling change through technology, not imposing it. Last but not least it’s the users content and contributions that matter and that keep the technology alive and give it purpose.
“No matter how good the team or how efficient the methodology, if we’re not solving the right problem, the project fails.” –Woody Williams