People have performed projects all through history. Many of the great wonders of the ancient world required a generation or more to complete. While personal leadership often was essential to the completion of these huge projects, it was the exception rather than the rule.
In the early part of the twentieth century, management came to be studied as a formal discipline. Scientific management, management science, and many other developments led to the systemization of management concepts. This first generation approach was a great step forward, but it dealt primarily with managing ongoing operations.
Simultaneously during the second half of the twentieth century, leadership and project management evolved as separate disciplines. These second generation approaches dealt with inspiring workers and managing change. They represented another significant step forward. An explosion of ideas developed both in leadership and in project management—but largely independent of each other.
Now, early in the twenty-first century, we are reuniting these two disciplines into a third discipline: project leadership. Because of their temporary nature and unique output, projects are different from ongoing operations. For this reason, we synthesize a number of the leadership concepts and techniques that are especially relevant to projects and present them in a project lifecycle framework. This is truly a third generation approach to accomplishing project work.
The primary intended audience for this book is anyone who works in a project setting. We specifically address many of our suggestions to project sponsors, project managers, functional managers, project core team members, and project customers. Each has several important roles to play in project leadership.
A second intended audience for this book is any leader. Most people spend at least part of their time on projects. This book can be useful to help them adapt their leadership techniques and knowledge for use on projects.
This book starts by briefly outlining the roots of project leadership from management in the early twentieth century through project management and leadership during the late twentieth century. We specifically develop a project leadership model in which task, human resource, and commitment responsibilities are delineated.
The next four chapters of the book represent the stages in the four-stage project lifecycle: project initiating, project planning, project executing, and project closing. Each stage has a defined starting and ending point, with a sequence of activities that would normally be performed to lead a project through to its successful conclusion. The activities we describe are at a level of detail appropriate for a "middle of the road" project. A project that is simple, short, and familiar could be streamlined in the manner in which the activities are completed, but the spirit of the activities would still need to be accomplished. On a large, complex, or unfamiliar project, the activities would need to be performed in more detail. This "middle of the road" approach is designed to give project participants a good starting point from which to scale up or down.
Features included in this book to assist the reader include:
An overall "science of project leadership" model to provide guidance on what project leadership responsibilities need to be accomplished at each stage in the four-stage project lifecycle
A project case study that provides examples of what decisions need to be made at each point in the project's life
Twenty-eight Project Leadership Lessons, which summarize each of the seven major project leadership challenges at each stage of a project
Numerous figures and tables to help the reader visualize our ideas and tools.
The extent to which Project Leadership succeeds in presenting a useful model and adapted tools to our readers is our ultimate measure of success. Please let us know how this book has helped you in your work and where you think it could be improved. We welcome all your comments and examples.
Timothy J. Kloppenborg
We would like to thank Warren Opfer, who was an author of Chapter 5 and who developed the three Project Leadership Assessments. The authors would also like to thank Praxis Management International for their contribution in the development of the Project Leadership Assessments.
We thank our department (Management and Entrepreneurship Department, Williams College of Business at Xavier University) for the encouragement provided. We thank the following individuals for their assistance: Marjorie Shriberg, Shannon Borowski, Shirlee James, Donna Waymire, Rose Kutschbach, Joy Davis, and our many students who read drafts of the book. We also thank everyone at Management Concepts for their assistance in all aspects of the book, especially our editor Cathy Kreyche for her helpful comments and support.
We thank our parents; our wives, Elizabeth Kloppenborg and Marjorie Shriberg; and our children, Kathryn and Nicholas Kloppenborg, and David, Michael, Amy, Rebecca, and Steven Shriberg, for their patience, understanding, love, and support, which made this book possible.
Jayashree Venkatraman thanks her parents, Venkataraman Padmanabhan and Lakshmi Venkataraman; her sister, Parvatharavardhini Venkataraman; her brother, Ramakrishnan Venkataraman, and his wife Sabitha Ramakrishnan; her nephew Sanjay; Mr. Durairajan and family for their love and support; her friends who have supported her; and her co-authors for their encouragement and support.
Please let us know both how this book has helped you and how you think it can be improved.
Timothy J. Kloppenborg
(513) 745-4905 (home)
(513) 745-4383 (fax)