Projects fail because of unclear scope and success criteria, lack of strategic alignment, lack of change management skills, underestimation, inadequate risk management, and lack of buy-in and engagement from project sponsors. Shockingly, PMI’s Pulse report shows that despite it being a top driver of project success, fewer than two in three projects have actively engaged sponsors. That's alarming! I wonder how the situation might be improved if project managers had better relationship-building and influencing skills.
The role of complexity
But why don’t we seem to get better in light of all the knowledge we have? Why do failure statistics continue to be so high? One of the answers relate to the increased complexity of projects and the environments in which they are undertaken. The ICCPM explains that there are many factors that contribute to this growing complexity, for example, social and technological change, growing global interdependency, increasing numbers of stakeholders and the need to communicate and co-ordinate cross-culturally. In their report “Hitting a Moving Target,” they write that ‘It is clear that the situation has to be addressed radically and comprehensively. If we do what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always got – and there are too many examples that prove what we’ve always got isn’t good enough.’
We don’t need more managers; we need leaders
Over 80% of high performing organisations now report that the most important acquired skills for project managers to successfully manage complex projects are leadership skills. Traditional dimensions of project management such as cost, schedule, and performance are necessary but insufficient.
My new book, The Power of Project Leadership, provides insight into how you can step up and transform into a leader. It shows you how to lead with vision, continuously improve and innovate, work with intent, get closer to your stakeholders, empower the team, be authentic and establish a solid foundation for your projects. These are the 7 keys (encompassing capabilities, attitudes and behaviours) that you need in order to become a leader.