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Seven Habits of True Project Leaders: Habit #2

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This series covers highlights the seven habits that are highly ingrained in project leaders who are capable of consistently delivering project success.  Our last post introduced the topic and discussed the project charter.

Habit #2: Demands a Strong Architect

A strong leader relies on the support of their team members, especially in areas where the project manager is either weak or not expected to have a certain skill in the first place.

Every project has two methodologies: there’s the project management methodology, but there’s also the methodology around the design and build of the solution itself. The design and build provides the foundation for the “how” of the approach to solve the basic business problem in the project charter. Without a firm grasp on that methodology, the project management methodology doesn’t have solid ground to define the approach to solve the business problem. Without a clear solution approach, the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is set to be misguided and incomplete.

Seeking out a project manager who is an expert in both methodologies is likely a fool’s errand. What an organization should look for is a project manager who is not only an expert in their own domain, but also has the keen eye and command to demand a strong architect.

Nurture: The organization needs to support the architects with at least high-level samples, including a rich set of processes and artifacts to give an organizational standard. This makes everyone’s job easier by not making them reinvent the wheel every time, but also it ensures everyone is speaking the same language. Regardless of how qualified and talented the project managers and architects are, if there’s no standard in place, each architect and PM may use different structures and terminology that muddy the process. One project manager might even get multiple WBSs for multiple projects that all speak a different language from each other, forcing that PM to translate them all to a “good enough” facsimile. It’s better to have a general framework that each architect can feel free to modify to their needs than to start from scratch and have no standards whatsoever.

Click here to read Habit #3: Doesn’t Gamble with Other People’s Money.

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