Working on large projects as a high performance coach is challenging. I see myself as working with a puzzle where all the pieces need to be put together. Some of the pieces include:

  • project governance
  • key results
  • leadership team
  • team health
  • different teams
  • stakeholders
  • programme
  • budget
  • risk and opportunity management
  • quality, systems and processes
  • vision, goals, stretch targets and strategies
  • plant and equipment utilisation
  • sub-contractor management

These are just a few of the key initiatives and inputs that need to be brought together to work together as one.   Total alignment, synergy and all outcome driven to what we are looking to deliver on the path to high performance.

One of the most critical roles in delivering this outcome of total alignment on projects is the project manager.  The project manager is the architect that has the vision to bring this together.  They work hard to ensure total alignment across all levels of the project including alignment with the project board that they report to.

The board also play a critical role in providing direction to the project manager on where the focus needs to be.  What are the critical challenges, priorities and outcomes that are required to be delivered by the project manager and their team?   What is keeping them up at night on this project?  What are the expectations of the client that we need to focus on?  What does success look like?  What is the vision and what are the goals that form the bigger picture of this project?  What are the stretch targets that will drive outstanding performance?

This relationship between the project board and the project manager is critical for any successful project.  It needs to be open, transparent and robust.  Unfortunately this is not always the case because the relationships have not been set up for success from the start.

The challenge lies in whether the project board has been clear with the project manager around their expectations.  Have they documented their expectations, the weighting of important key areas, measures of success and the process for assessing the project manager’s performance?  Do they regularly encourage two way feedback between the board and project manager around performance?  Do they review this regularly?  Have they engaged someone independent to the project to undertake this assessment process and report back on it?

This focus on getting this key relationship right from the start should be the focus of the board chair and board members working collaboratively with the project manager.  This is very important and could be the difference between a successful project and an unsuccessful one.

For assistance in setting up your project for success including project manager assessments, please visit our services at Project Performance