Scratching the People Itch...

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Over the last three decades I have seen tremendous developments in planning, risk management, benefits management and governance all supported by process standardisation, tools and training. These developments are to be applauded and have formed the foundation of the profession.

But projects are still failing. Research indicates, and I strongly believe, that the human dimension is a key factor in the success or failure of a project. This statement is nothing new but the key is how we as a profession do something to improve the situation.

The human dimension is multi faceted and broad. It covers the knowledge areas of communications, teamwork, leadership, influencing, delegation, negotiation and conflict management but it also encompasses the behavioural and cultural dimensions inherent in all aspects of the project management domain.

For example, the behaviours to enable effective risk solicitation, the skills to develop a schedule “owned” by the team, the organisational project management culture, the political skills of portfolio management, the cultural aspects of learning, the skills required to harness and motivate a diverse functional team and the courage to say “no”.

These are the topics for me that really influence project success. Of course you need the foundation of process, tools and techniques but what really makes the difference is the behaviour and interactions of team members and project leaders.

The People SIG mission is: to raise awareness and encourage debate around the people aspects of project management, awaken appetite and influence opinion in the area and to offer thought pieces and insights to inspire project managers.

We are doing some good work. We have recently launched a series of workshops to address some of the key topic areas. These workshops will provide knowledge sharing and the opportunity to develop the topic into a tangible product that can be shared with the wider community.

But, does this scratch the itch?

What does the community want from the People SIG? What outputs would be useful or topics should we focus on? How should we engage across the SIGs and the Branches?

Your contribution and engagement would be welcome to ensure that the SIG delivers on what you need.


Posted by Mark Oliver on 15th Apr 2011

About the Author

Mark is an experienced Programme Director with a background in the aerospace and defence industry. With approaching 30 years in the business he has led a variety of projects, programmes and portfolios delivering major defence equipment and services projects, IT implementations and change initiatives. He has a background in project control with key strengths in strategy development, project turnaround and relationship improvement. He is passionate about people in projects and their contribution to success. Building on his personal experience and research conducted he is now working to redress the balance between the “process and tools” topics and the “people” topics. In 2010 he founded Return To Green Projects Ltd to provide Interim and Consultancy project management support to client organisations. Mark has a Henley MBA, and in addition to the APM, is an active member of the Chartered Management Institute and Institute of Directors.

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