PEOPLE HAVE POWER

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“People have the power” was sung by Patti Smith in the late 1980s. Well, it still is. One of the key moments in my career as a project manager was the realization that a single person could stand in the way of a successful project. On the other hand, one person is never enough to make this success possible. As a project manager, I am not able to complete the project on my own, but it is up to me whether I effectively engage people. People who influence the project and those who are affected by the project are called stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement is a key element that influences every other area of the project. Whether it be planning the scope, establishing a schedule, calculating the budget, analyzing risks, monitoring progress, collecting experiences, etc., a project manager cannot do it alone if he wants to achieve success.

So we need a leader. Easy. Except it's easier said than done. Although it is clear that some people are born with this talent. We admire them. We envy them. We hold them up as role models. A model that is hard to follow when we are not gifted with this super power ourselves. The concept of "super power" is quite accurate, considering that in the project manager's talent triangle according to the Project Management Institute (PMI Talent Triangle®), the previous dimension called "leadership" has been replaced by "impact skills" ... and maybe even "power skills". Does this mean that a professional Project Management Professional is expected to be born with this "super power"? NO. We are expected to develop, cultivate and use this “power” wisely. What would be the benefit of being born with "super powers" if we behaved like the main character of the movie "Hancock", played by Will Smith?

Seventh edition PMBOK® Guide in the part dedicated to domains, it advises us to create a project management environment in which each team member can lead the rest. If you are not a project manager yet or you have no intention of abandoning the role of expert, you may still find it useful to build leadership competencies. They are described in more detail in section 2.2.4. Using the recommendations contained therein is intended to bring us closer to actually demonstrating that we have "super powers". If it works, it won't matter that these are learned rather than innate powers. It's like becoming Batman.

First, we have to establish and maintain a project vision. I will try to translate the quote faithfully: A good vision is clear, concise and implementable. The vision summarizes the project with a powerful sentence or short description. It describes the best result that can be achieved. It creates a coherent image in the minds of project team members and inspires them to achieve the result. What does this mean in practice? In my opinion, this means writing a short and simple document, no more than 1 A4 page, and using it throughout the project to clearly indicate the direction in which the project is to go. We most often call this document the Project Charter.

The second element is critical thinking. “It requires an open mind and the ability to analyze objectively.” Various group work techniques can help us with this. Remember, however, that all of these techniques can be distorted by an overconfident project manager. We must therefore remain vigilant and careful. I encourage project managers to take a few minutes each week to ask themselves: Have I really been open to the opinions of others and looked for solutions objectively? Doing the project according to your own beliefs may be faster in the short run, but it is unlikely to lead to the lasting commitment of team members, which proves invaluable when real problems arise.

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