Projects don't fail, people do. That basic statement sums up the challenge every project manager faces. Any research done in this area returns time and again to the underlying cause of project failure: people. Most technology projects are complex and lack of funding, lack of staff, and lack of time or focus are all blamed in equal measure for project failure. Projects don't arise from the dust and run themselvessomeone has to define them, fund them, staff them, and run them. The people involved are responsible for the success (or failure) of the project. As the project manager, you're ultimately responsible for the success of the project. For that reason, we're devoting a chapter to managing the project team. We're taking a slightly different approach than you may have seen in the past. We're going to explore not only how people tend to work (work styles) but also how you, as the project manager, can be more effective in managing teams that may be geographically, culturally, or technically diverse. In today's wired world (and increasingly, wireless world), we work with people around the globe in different time zones, different countries, and different cultures. While one chapter won't give you all the tools you need to perfect your multicultural management skills, it will help you better understand some of the challenges and give you some tools you can use immediately to improve your team management skills.
Project management, by definition, is the process of working with a team of people to solve a problem. In a vast majority of projects, the project manager (PM) must manage people over whom he or she has no direct (organizational) authority. Much of the PM's job, then, is using influence to generate the desired results. As you learned in Chapter 3, there are many sources of power and many methods of influencing people. Understanding these basics will help you as you manage your project team.
If you've ever wondered what makes people tick or what makes some managers so good at getting people on board with their projects, this chapter will give you some insight into those skills. If you manage a team that is across the continent or across the world, you'll learn highly useful information that will make your job a bit easier. And, if you've ever felt like your team was simply running you ragged, this chapter is a must-read for you.