In this blog I will explain why you should take the blame for things that go wrong that were your fault - even if only partially your fault. The most common argument for taking the blame is an ethical argument. The basis of that ethical argument uses principles such as we should tell the truth and not risk that others take the blame for our shortcomings. Whilst I support this ethical argument I am going to ignore it for the time being. What I want to build on is the selfish argument for taking the blame.
There are three outcomes that managers in business are regularly required to achieve. I want to discuss these three outcomes, or more precisely the inter-relationship between them. I am going to use the example of projects. That is not because this is an article for project managers, but because projects provide a very clear example of the problems of trying to achieve these three outcomes simultaneously. The ideas in this article are widely applicable beyond the specific domain of projects.
The three outcomes are: meeting commitments, enabling flexibility and keeping resources 100% utilised. The main message of my article is simple: you cannot achieve all three. Constantly trying to do so is a waste of effort that misses an important opportunity.
Most large organizations have some form of project management and change management teams. In fact, lost of businesses have multiple teams running projects, delivering change and otherwise helping the organization to develop and improve.
There is lots written about project, programme, portfolio and change management – about increasing project performance, creating high performing project teams and so on, but there is less thought about the setting up and running of project and change management teams.
This is a piece about consultancy and the ethics of consultants in one specific area.
I was in one of my client offices the other day, sitting at my desk ploughing through some work, developing a thought piece for the client. Next to me were a couple of people I do not know, who were engaged in a little light banter. They were talking about the company, the work they were doing, and how things were going – but nothing too deep or serious, just chit-chat. At one point one of the people said “of course, no one here knows I am not an employee.”
I am often asked what makes a great project manager. Like any question of this sort the asker is looking for some simple mantra that is universally true. Life’s a bit more complex than that, but I can give an indication. I think there are five personal characteristics that are fundamental to any delivery role:
A common point of tension for many organisations is the way strategy converts into projects. (I am assuming there is a meaningful strategy. This is obviously not true everywhere, but that is a whole different sort of problem which is not covered in this article).
When I started working, somewhat over 25 years ago, outsourcing and offshoring was in its infancy. Now it is a central factor in organisational design – and in projects.
I would like to continue the discussion I started a while ago on highly performing project teams. This is a topic that I think is very important, but one that we do not discuss often enough as project managers. In this article I want to focus in on preparing team members for a project.
I am very interested in what makes a high performance project team. I don’t have all the answers to this topic, and I am really interested in other people’s views. This article contains some of my views of what helps. I hope it encourages you to share yours.
If you are someone who has read management textbooks for a long time then you will have noticed, over the last few decades, the increasing emphasis on leadership skills. Successful businesses are presented as those that have great leaders. In contrast, unsuccessful businesses are often presented as those without a vision or without bold leaders.