Managing Projects in a Matrix
I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, "The customer is king!" It’s been around since about the 1990's and the expression has become ubiquitous. But have you considered where this expression came from in the first place?
Because it’s creating tyranny in our projects and organizations.
If you've recently been put in charge of an important project or initiative, you're probably experiencing a range of emotions, from excitement to possibly some uneasiness.
As you’re sizing up that new project initiative that’s very important to your company, you anxiously start thinking about who needs to be involved, and you pull them into a meeting.
Everyone is excited about this initiative (even though they have a lot on their plates already) so everyone gets to work to make it happen. It’s going to be fantastic for the organization—and for you personally!
And then something happens. Could be another leader’s project takes precedence. Or others get behind because of the other tasks they have to complete first. Or even an unexpected cost comes up that throws you out of budget.
And you start thinking—this is going to reflect poorly on me as the project leader. Could I get fired over this?
A project sponsor is probably the most overlooked role within the context of a project, and yet, this is the person that can play a key role in ensuring project success.
In our article, The Case for Team Accountability, we looked at reasons why shared team accountability promotes project success. But how do you keep track of who’s accountable for each deliverable?
Planning often gets a bad rap. It’s boring. It takes too long. It makes things sound too scary, or it’s never realistic enough to make it worth the effort… So how do we create plans that make our work easier, instead of just taking up time?
Do your team members struggle to work together? Do your team leaders struggle to bring high-performing teams together to deliver team outcomes? Do team members succeed at fulfilling their individual assignments, but projects still fail?
We feel your pain and we have the cure. Shared team accountability.
Accountability can help or hinder your project. In the past, accountability was often synonymous with blame. It created fear, forced people to cover their backsides, and sabotaged learning. This kind of accountability did little to improve performance.
Working cross-functionally poses a challenge for any project leader. Team members have functional commitments and loyalties. Resource area leaders have functional goals and priorities.
What does sales have to do with project management? Plenty. All Project Managers need the ability to sell.