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13 November 2007

Authority to Change

Without explicit authority people often feel bound by the rules, when in fact the rules may just be guidelines, or even just the way things have been done recently.

CIOs, Programme managers and other people in positions of authority need to give their worker bees permission to be flexible, creative and effective in order for project teams to be able to deliver the results their clients want.

Henry Mintzberg is a leading thinker in the ways organisations should be structured. His focus has been at the macro level of business and he has two key themes that are relevant to this topic. The nature of the environment demands a certain degree of flexibility or control, and the culture of the organization tends to one or another degree of formality.

When it comes to managing projects, it doesn't have to be either waterfall or agile, and in fact both methods suit certain circumstances. The methodology is second to the people, and when you have good people you want to set them free to do the work.

If you are able to free up your professionals to make their own decisions about how things should be run, one of the key roles of the project manager is that of enabler. The project manager will there to set a vision and to help get obstacles out of the way. With luck, the team are experts in their field. Without obstacles and artifical contraints they'll be a lot more effective and your project will go over a lot better.