Project management keeps gaining in popularity and the interest in relevant seminars and literature abounds. Silver bullets, from software to methodologies, hit the market with promises of success. Still, projects seem to have just about the same results: missed dates, budgets exceeded, and poor quality. The key question, of course, is why.
Ironically, what is needed, I believe, is not more seminars or silver bullets. Although project performance has improved to some degree, the real secret is not a new tool, technique, technology, or methodology, but something less tangible but all to obvious when missing leadership.
As a project manager, it has been my experience over the years that the real ingredient for successful projects is project leadership, not more project management. As an officer in the U.S. Army, under the now-famous General Norman Schwarzkopf, I learned some key principles of management that have helped me throughout the years to lead and manage projects. From that point onward, I experienced bruises and injuries in the corporate world which also provided me with the insights that have proven valuable in my career as a project management professional and, more importantly, as a project leader.
Fortunately, I have had many more successes than failures. Through serious reflection, I have realized that many of the successes came under arduous circumstances without the benefit of silver bullets, but they provided the necessary leadership.
I am not boasting to be the world's greatest project leader. However, I do have the benefit of experience and years of study and, like other project managers, have and will likely "step on it" from time to time. In addition to being a project manager, as an information technology auditor I have had the opportunity to evaluate projects of all sizes and types in a Fortune 100 firm. One observation as an auditor is that many projects have plenty of "blanks" for silver bullets, but very little project leadership.
In the following pages, I share my insights. Look at them as "lessons learned" from a seasoned professional in project management. Hopefully, while leading your projects, you can take one or two insights from this book and apply them. You may also be able to use these insights to "piggyback" a few of your own. In the end, my goal is to help you become more of a project leader because, quite frankly, industry does not need more project managers. There are plenty of them. What industry needs is more project leaders .