Crescendus™ | Straight Talk on Project Management Execution
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Crescendus™ | Straight Talk on Project Management Execution

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Crescendus™ | Straight Talk on Project Management Execution

Project Execution- Dealing with multiple-departmental employees working on a Project.

JUNE 2014. | Copyright Crescendus™ 2014. All Rights Reserved.

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  • 1. Crescendus™ Practical Brilliance Series Straight Talk on Project Management Execution JUNE 2014. | Copyright Crescendus™ 2014. All Rights Reserved. ______________________________________________________________________________ Project Execution- Dealing with multiple-departmental employees working on a Project. STATUS QUO ISSUES & PROBLEMS: In most companies, resources from different departments are pooled together or shared to work on critical projects. During the initial phases of the project, everyone is excited about the opportunity to collaborate and want to be "in the loop" on everything. The managers, directors and Vice President's of the various departments get together and talk about detailed tasks, KPIs, GANTT charts and also hand-off of various tasks and critical path initiatives. Also, for various tasks, leaders are also appropriately assigned but the leaders do not have direct authority over the team members, since they are managed by their departmental managers. This is usually the case in most companies, and definitely at mid to large firms that operate under the matrix structure. As the year progresses, the above employees keep being pulled into their own intra departmental activities and tasks governed by their own managers and directors. When this happens, inter departmental priorities take the back seat and most of the previously agreed upon timelines are delayed/shifted. This leads to execution frustration and never ending series of meetings with various stakeholders and political power plays between the departments. The end result usually follows the " we need to work together" theme and sets off new set of standing meetings for the rest of the year! SOLUTIONS: 1. Project Performance & Compensation Reviews- On critical projects, inter departmental team members should report to the task managers, and these task managers should be given 100% HR authority over the performance reviews and compensation incentives of each of their team members. For example, if a marketing employee is working 80% on core marketing department tasks and 1
  • 2. 20% on multi-departmental tasks, the performance review of the 20% portion should be fully controlled by the project task leader. For this 20%, the original marketing department head shouldn't be involved in performance review or compensation evaluation. The department heads should just focus their authority over the 80% portion of the employee's core tasks. When you do this, the project task leaders will be able to manage and execute more efficiently. 2. Organization Structure- CEOs and CFOs should make it clear that employees work for the company and not limited to departments. For critical projects, they should embrace the concept of annual floating employees that can be pulled into various projects (with different reporting supervisors) and tasks, depending upon annual strategic goals and priorities. The Executive Team should direct the HR structure to accomodate the above flexibility. 3. CEO Intervention- Get involved in critical projects and attend critical path initiative project meetings. Such things can not be delegated simply to your Executives. Use these meetings to also get frank feedback from the various project managers and team members. At minimum, attend 2-3 meetings/month and set aside 2-3 full days to go over critical deliverables. Don't forget that we are talking about critical path initiatives that have the potential to severely impact the performance of the company. 4. Time Management- This really starts at the top with the CEO & the Executive team. Usually, within annual strategy meetings, most of the Executives try to pile up 10-12 core initiatives with several sub-initiatives that are broken down further into departmental and employee tasks. This is the most important stage where the CEO should challenge their Executives on Tradeoffs and restrict core initiatives to a manageable number. We find that most Executives do not like to cut initiatives because they want to maintain power and control over financial and employee resources. This is the root cause of all time management issues. If there is time management problem, challenge and hold your VP's, Directors and Managers accountable. There is no point pushing the blame to the reporting employees since they do not have full control on the tradeoffs. During performance reviews, for every time management challenge or delay, hold the VP and Director accountable since they didn't prioritize initiatives, projects and tasks. Do not wait till mid year to change course in case things are not working. Remember, the CEO and the Executive Team have the right to re-prioritize initiatives at any time. It is better to say that we overestimated our capabilities early in the year and change course rather than blindly staying the course and hoping for the best (even if you know that it is wishful thinking). Need Help? Request our consulting services. Check: 2