Mark asked his executive team to select a project sponsor. The team agreed that Gary and Bob are the two strongest candidates. Profiles of each are shown in Table 2-4.

Table 2-4: Profiles of Potential Sponsors

Bob's Profile

Gary's Profile

Participative leadership style

Technology initiator

Aware of organizational politics within the functional organizations

Understands supply chain inefficiencies


Believes in ROI of IT projects

Great communicator

Likes outdoor sports

Factual and thoroughly works out details

Experience in being project sponsor

The executive team decided to select Bob as the project sponsor. They also created a steering team of Bob, Carl, Gary, Mark, and Peter.

Bob mentioned to Gary that there were two possible candidates for the job of project manager. The qualifications of both candidates are shown in Table 2-5.

Table 2-5: Project Manager Candidate Qualifications


Jack Donovan

Uma Raman

Job Title

Manager of business applications

IT project manager


Degree in engineering

Masters in computer science, MBA, PMP

PM experience

10 years

5 years

Last Project

Selected ERP system for CSM

Global project in an Internet company

Supervisor's Comments

Task-oriented, micromanages work breakdown structure (WBS), honesty, integrity, technically up-to-date.

Strong interpersonal skills, great problemsolving capabilities, aggressive, has fun days in her project

Bob told Gary that he needed someone who was confident, enthusiastic, logical, and who finds flaws in advance. After meeting with both candidates, Bob selected Uma as the project manager.

Bob and Uma selected the core team as shown in Table 2-6.

Table 2-6: Core Team Members and Roles

Team Member

Functional Role

Jeff Gardiner

Southeastern regional sales director

Steve Alvarez

Procurement manager

Rob Richard

Responsible for advanced shipping notices

Rita Elliot

Accounts receivable manager

Scott Brown

Networking manager

Elizabeth Ramsey

Operations manager

Paul Byrant

QA manager

Sanjay Krishnan

Technical lead

Chris Chin

Lead business analyst

Project Leadership Considerations

A large part of the success of any project is determined at this point. In choosing key participants, the first goal is to find people who have adequate knowledge and skills in team-building, planning, communications, and decision-making to be effective project leaders. Appendix B is a self-scoring assessment of an individual's project leadership potential. The key project leaders selected should in turn find people who will have a synergy among them, that is, who will work creatively together and whose efforts will complement and supplement each other. Key project participants typically include a steering team, project sponsor, project manager, project core team, and subject matter experts.

The steering team needs to include people of vision who see the project in perspective, who care about the project's success, and who will provide overall guidance and support for the project. In some instances the organization's existing management team serves this function. An advantage of this approach is that the steering team by definition has legitimate authority (clout). In other instances individuals are specifically selected to serve on the project steering team. An advantage of this approach is that the steering team may have more specific expertise and passion. CSM elected to select the steering team.

The sponsor is usually a member of the steering team and is the primary liaison between the steering team and the project, although many informal lines of communication may also exist between the steering team and the project. The sponsor is primarily responsible for securing resources, removing obstacles, and mentoring the project manager and the core team.

Bob appears to be a wise choice for sponsor since he understands organizations, communicates well, and works effectively with teams. While Bob's technical expertise appears weaker than Gary's, other participants can provide expertise. In a true team setting, the experts will lead within their competence. Bob's willingness to ask detailed questions should help.

The project manager is the primary communicator both internally within the project and externally with many individuals and groups who have an interest in the project. When situations call for action, the project manager needs to be able to:

  • Advocate a project vision effectively

  • Keep attention focused on key issues

  • Listen well and speak clearly

  • Inspire confidence

  • Create a sense of urgency

  • Care for and protect people

  • Defend the core values of the organization and project

  • Lead change fearlessly

  • Coordinate a multitude of tasks

  • Make sensible tradeoff decisions.

Uma appears to be a good choice. Since the two key people have been chosen, it is now time for Uma (the project manager) to assess herself and Bob (the project sponsor) in terms of their personality types, their emotional intelligence, their team-building skills, their weaknesses, and their professional needs and desires. The project manager and sponsor will need to communicate effectively with many people, including the steering team, who will guide them, and the project core team, who will collectively make many project decisions and perform many of the project's tasks.

A project core team is generally a small group of people who are assigned to the project during initiating and remain for the duration. They collectively make many project decisions and either perform or lead the performance of most of the project tasks. Bob and Uma decided that subject matter experts (SMEs) would not be members of the core team, but would be selected on a just-in-time basis.

Project core team members then need to be chosen based upon three general criteria: their technical competence, their ability to help the team function well, and their desire to do whatever it takes to complete the project successfully. This is a good situation for Uma. Since she is choosing several people at once and the positional leaders are known, she can balance her choices, perhaps accepting someone with a technical competence that is hard to find who lacks certain teaming skills and finding another person with those skills. Diversity is the key: She will want to choose people with different styles, experiences, and approaches to problem-solving to ensure that many possibilities are considered.

The project core team needs to comprise committed, qualified, and diverse people. It is wise to have a mix of very experienced individuals and some new players who can learn and be developed during this process. Bob and the steering team need to ensure that Uma sees the bigger picture and chooses people who will be effective in this project and in future projects. It does appear that a wide range of departments is represented on the project.

One key question to ask when deciding if someone should be on the core team is: Do we need this person's expertise throughout the project or just part of the time? The core team ideally should remain intact for the entire project. Another key question is how big the core team should be. While many factors enter into this decision, one useful rule of thumb is that smaller teams communicate more easily. An offsetting factor is that different departments and units need to be represented when decisions are made.

The last major role is for SMEs. These individuals are brought onto the project as needed, and some may perform a little work on many projects. One challenge with SMEs is to get them to buy into the project. Since they have less involvement, often they have less commitment. While many SMEs are selected just-in-time, some critical resources are in such short supply that the need for their services should be identified and prioritized as far in advance as possible.

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Project Leadership Lesson: Initiating—Human Resources

A Project Leader Needs to:

Accept the weaknesses and idiosyncracies of potential key project participants

Have the courage to select appropriate participants and reject inappropriate participants

Exercise the wisdom to make the right choices.

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Project Leadership
Project Leadership
ISBN: 0071388672
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 106

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