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Integrated project management: leadership and collaboration

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Just as there are different people, organisations and jobs; there are different projects. Within each project lies different objectives, skills and stakeholders. Integrated project management involves piecing together expectations to encourage strong leadership, effective collaboration, clarity of purpose and strategy to deliver a successful project.

This philosophy is key in understanding and implementing strong leadership to drive a motivated and collaborative working culture in order to deliver a successful project. Integrated project management at its purest core empowers a team from within; uniting the task, the team and each individual.

Strong leadership

A project manager does not simply ‘manage’ but embodies motivation for each team member by combining a clear understanding of objectives, matching individual tasks to skill sets, and promoting a cooperative team ethos so that successful projects are delivered. A strong leader will also enhance collaboration, which is another key part of integrated project management.

Is strong leadership really important?

Strong leadership is vital in achieving integrated project management and successful project delivery. If a leader fails to unite the team, different individuals can have friction, working against one another, which is ineffective and a waste of time. If a leader fails to motivate, then there is a lack of passion, and without such a driving force there is a noticeable decrease in productivity and quality. Finally, if the leader does not make the objective clear, then no team or individual can fulfil it. Ultimately, without strong leadership, any success becomes a battle.

True integrated project management requires both management and leadership. Management is clear focus and dedication on project objectives and tasks, whereas leadership seeks to equip the team and team members with the tools needed in order to be motivated and successful.

How is strong leadership achieved? 

  • The project leaders must fully understand the task, the strategy for delivery and the strengths of all team members. Due to its nature, integrated project management empowers leaders at all levels to make their own decisions, provides autonomy and freedom to deliver within an altering environment. This means that a powerful leader needs to enable success at all levels by understanding and coordinating each element of the project, delivering resources and delegating tasks best suited to individual strengths.
  • The project leader needs to build a dedicated team by identifying talent and skill. By monitoring performance and supporting pastorally, a strong leader is able to tweak the environment when needed to better suit the task, team and individual. They also encourage collaboration within the team.
  • The project leader understands and echoes the true motivations of the individuals, and the methodology required to inspire and motivate the team. By recognising motivations, the leader can ensure talent development through providing opportunities that allow individuals to maximise personal strengths and overcome any weaknesses.

The essence of integrated project management lies in the integration; the collaboration of individual team members coming together in order to deliver a combined success. Now that we have a strong leader, the team they manage needs to collaborate.

Effective collaboration

Developing a hardworking team is of utmost importance because it allows all the combined experience, expertise and innovation of each individual to merge and deliver exceptional and outstanding results.

How is collaboration achieved?

Aside from strong leadership from the beginning till end of each project, encouraging collaboration needs the right team, an optimised work breakdown structure (WBS) and an effective team spirit.

  • Diversity. The first step is creating a diverse team that covers all expertise and skills that complement each other, all from different professional backgrounds and organisations. This encourages a fresh and objective outlook on each task and mutual understanding between all team members.
  • Coordination. A project’s success is the delivery of set objectives, and the WBS allows a straightforward method into dividing the challenges into achievable tasks. Different experts, team members and teams need to coordinate in their area in order to achieve the full picture.
  • Nurturing. Creating a collaborative environment is a careful consideration, because as pressure builds, support from team members is crucial. Implementing a shared ethos from project inception through workshops team members can understand how to support each other to achieve shared goals.
  • Maintenance. Simply creating an atmosphere for calm, careful collaboration does not take into consideration the maintenance of collaboration. As integrated project management boasts; leadership is important at all levels, and it is essential that senior members set an example by working collaboratively to better encourage their team. By echoing traditional values and collaborative outcomes from project inception, it creates an atmosphere for positive, collaboration throughout the delivery.

As the project progresses, a leader monitors the outcomes of project collaboration, identifying any limitations, proposing solutions and implementing strategies to overcome the problems. This can be reinstating the objectives, adjusting the team members and continuously providing inspirational and motivational support.

In summary

Integrated project management is an art that covers vital components for successful project delivery. Effective collaboration and strong leadership are just part one; part two includes having a clear strategy and purpose. However, all these components are intricately joined and overlap; a project needs a strong leader, who is responsible for creating a positive and collaborative team, who all understand the objective and how to achieve it. These key functions of integrated project management are the fundamental in having ongoing project delivery success.

Part two of this series: Integrated project management: clarity of purpose and strategy

Image: MJgraphics/


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