How to lead when you are not the manager

The task of leading a team can be daunting, especially if you are not the “official” manager of the team. Imagine being the leader of a team over which you have no real authority, yet you are being asked to ensure the project team do the necessary work to complete the project successfully. It may seem impossible on the surface but there are a few team building techniques which can help overcome this hurdle.

First of all, it is important to get all team members on board. One effective way to do this is by making sure everyone shares common goals and has shared responsibility for achieving those goals.

The team leader must also communicate effectively so that all team members have a full understanding of the goals. Communications should not be condescending in nature but instead should empower the members of the team fostering ownership and a commitment to the goals set forth.

Another useful technique is to identify specific team members who might help unify the team. Utilizing people who are self-starters will get the work started and keep the ball rolling throughout the life of the project. These people should possess leadership capabilities but also know the boundaries of authority.

Finally, it is imperitive to identify issues which could inhibit the team in reaching their goals. These issues must be addressed to remove the inhibitors so the goals of the team might be achieved.

Project management requires a certain amount of finesse. Bottom line, know your people and take full advantage of their abilities, skills and talents to get the job done.

Difference between Project Management and Program Management

There is confusion between the term project management and program management. Although, the words seem similar there are some differences.

Project management is the act of creating plans and managing resources in order to accomplish a project. A project is a scheduled undertaking for the purpose of creating a product or service. Program management, on the other hand, is the act of creating and managing multiple projects, most of the projects are usually related to one another.

Project management is usually short-lived with specific time constraints while program management is an ongoing process in order to achieve the goals and objectives.

The job of a project manager usually involves working on finite projects or objectives. The program manager works more often with strategy.

A project management team works to identify the triple constraint of time, scope and cost of a project. Then, they plan and report on the delivery of the project. While the project is being accomplished the triple constraint is reviewed. At it’s close, the project management team will review and report on the accomplishment of the project.

A program management team works to identify the mission, projects to be accomplished, and it’s close. The team provides support for the requirements of the projects. They monitor the program plan and keep track of information within the specific projects. After the completion of the project, it is reviewed and documented.

How has Project Management changed in a Web 2.0 world?

The role of a Project management in the past was to coordinate the efforts of a group of individuals working toward a common goal. This was accomplished through a variety of tools, such as teleconferencing, meetings, white board sessions, and printed project status reports. A Project Manager lived with a phone glued to his or her ear.

A Web 2.0 world didn’t change the role of project management, but it did simplify, and in most cases, increase efficiency. A project manager in a Web 2.0 world can conduct meetings via web conference, can create a common project workspace that automatically tracks changes, and can keep a record of conversations via e-mail correspondence. But additional social networking capabilities add the ability to coordinate talent around the globe to focus on a project. So while the project manager may be based in Silicon Valley, he can utilize the talent of a programmer in New York, a marketing maverick in Dallas, a graphic designer in Orlando, and other talent scattered around the world meeting in one portal.

Additionally, with increased globalization, a smart project management team can work during “normal” business owners to solidify concepts, and send the entire project to an outsourced team of MBA’S in India to continue the work, so that when they show up the next morning during “normal” work hours, the project has advanced by a day or more! A Web 2.0 world can increase productivity almost exponentially.

This ability does require a strong hand in the project management team, with superior organization skills, but all of those tools are available online as well.

Social Project Management

An interesting presentation about Social Project Management by Leisa Reichelt:

She gave this presentation at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, and her main interest is to find

ways that we can break down monster projects into micro projects and be more iterative in the way that we work, and to work more collaboratively with teams that are made up of multiple disciplines

I am not sure whether I would agree with all the points she makes here but I definitely like the idea of breaking down projects which was called “staged delivery” before we came to the Web 2.0 world 🙂