Uma then developed the integrated project plan to submit to the steering team and other stakeholders. The integrated project plan included the WBS, schedule, risk plan, and cost estimates. Uma wanted to create management plans for scope, time, and cost. Bob told Uma that they could work on these factors once the project was kicked off. He wanted to get the project started as there was pressure from Mark to get it going.
Uma was facing a common project leadership dilemma. She was being pressured by powerful stakeholders to move forward, yet her core team members had stated they were not ready yet. This was a "leadership moment". She needed to recall the project priorities. In this case the non-negotiables were quality and time. Since she was within the allocated time, it became her responsibility to consider pushing back because moving too quickly could create an unacceptable risk.
While the key issue in developing integrated project plans is to ensure that the various components have consistency, sometimes there is time pressure to move along and iron out details later. This often creates problems that could have been easily handled with just a little more time in planning, but if discovered during execution, are much more disruptive to the project. The issue that faced the core team was whether they had enough information to complete the planning process. While very few teams feel they have all the information they would like, one component of project leadership is to know when the team has enough information to proceed.
Project leaders should remember a few key principles of project leadership planning at this time:
Understand a project at different levels—as part of a larger system, as a system itself, and as a collection of parts. This understanding requires that the various parts of a project "fit" together in the integrated plan and reduces unpleasant surprises during project execution.
Remember that both numbers and ideas are important in an integrated project plan. Many project participants primarily want to see or use either numbers or issues, but not both. An effective project leader needs to be comfortable with both.
Analyze complex tradeoffs and understand their potential consequences. This can be helpful when making integration decisions.
Understand cause and effect relationships so issues can be identified that, when improved, will also improve other areas. This also helps in making integration decisions.
Know when to make decisions and when to allow decision-making by the project team or by certain stakeholders. Enlightened project leaders try to push the decision-making process to as low an organizational level as practical. This helps all project participants-the project team and other stakeholders—develop a sense of shared risk and reward. This ownership of decisions often is the extra intangible that helps project participants achieve a little more when faced with challenges during project execution.
A Project Leader Needs to:
Accept that others can sometimes make better decisions than I can
Have the courage to make the decisions I should make
Exercise the wisdom to know which are which.