Project Leadership Requires Sharing Responsibility

In August 2009, I was given the opportunity to present a project management paper with Curt Finch CEO of Journyx on “How to Successfully Execute Projects Every Time” at the 3rd Annual Project Management Symposium at UT Dallas.

There were many excellent papers given at the symposium. One I found particularly thoughtful and filled with excellent ideas was Wendy Overturf’s paper titled, “The Fellowship of Teams: The Power of Individual and Shared Responsibilities on Projects”. Wendy is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and works for Texas Instruments Incorporated.

Here are a few key points Wendy made in her presentation:

  • “The project manager must be willing to share the leadership role with team members through a balance of individual and shared responsibilities.”
  • Each team member should participate in the chartering process. Each should formally commit to doing their best to achieve the agreed upon project results —even when things do not go as planned (based on content from: Project Leadership by Timothy J. Kloppenborg, Arthur Shriberg and Jayashree Venkatraman, in Management Concepts, 2003).
  • The needs of team members follow a track similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in which the lower-level needs such as Job Availability and Working Conditions must be fulfilled before higher-level needs like Recognition and Reaching One’s Full Potential can be addressed.
  • “Each individual on the project team is a major stakeholder of the project.”
  • “Traditional concepts and techniques such as the Project Charter, Needs Hierarchy, Bill of Rights, Stakeholder Analysis, and the Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RASCI) can assist project managers with recognizing and tapping into the full potential of project teams…”

I encourage you to read Wendy’s entire paper which has been published by PM World Today – September 2009 (Vol XI, Issue XI). If you have thoughts about or experience in sharing leadership on a project, I invite your comments to share with the PM community.

2 Responses to “Project Leadership Requires Sharing Responsibility”

  1. My-Project-Management-Expert.com Says:

    Hi,

    Interesting post.

    I agree with the bullet point, “The project manager must be willing to share the leadership role with team members through a balance of individual and shared responsibilities.”

    Too many project manager’s are unwilling to do this. But the reality is you need to delegate otherwise you’d go mad.

    However the bullet point, “Each individual on the project team is a major stakeholder of the project.” I certainly don’t agree with.

    Managing Project Teams is a hard enough task in order to ensure you attain Successful Project Teams without making every individual resource a stakeholder. After all on a the current project I am managing I have over 300 rfull-time esources in 5 countries with another 150 who do ad hoc work. I don’t know who most of them are because otherwise I would go mad. The only way to manage things is to deal through their team leads and the project managers who report into me.

    I’m sure this would work on smaller projects but certainly not in my book in large multi country projects.

    Admittedly I could be missing the gist of what Wendy said but from initial reading that bullet point doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Regards

    Susan de Sousa
    Site Editor http://www.my-project-management-expert.com

  2. Dealing with a micromanaging boss or client « Fear No Project – A Project Management Blog Says:

    […] Leadership is not developed (see Project Leadership Requires Sharing Responsibility) […]


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