Project organizations really are not unlike other organizations. Like a small, medium, or large sized corporation, projects have specific objectives that need to be supported by its own project culture. Projects include collections of people and stakeholders, surrounding a concept or idea and particular action that might be termed a "rallying point". Discovering, and even more important creating, and maintaining the character of that persona, is an important job of the project manager and supporting organization.
What is your Project’s “Rallying Point”?
We are all too familiar with many of the mission statements that organizations have. Often, they sound redundant and meaningless. If you look deeper, and if the organization truly believes, acts and manifests that mission and belief statement into what it really is, then it is meaningful and effective. For example, a company might say that it will be the lowest cost producer in the world in a particular market. If, in fact, that is what they truly intend, they must deflect the temptation to depart from that statement – for example, by deflecting initiatives aimed at being the market leader in developing innovative products. If the company stays true to its strategy, and maintains the persona around supporting that strategy, it enhances its chances to be successful.
On projects, there is, or should be, a “rallying point”. Such a “rallying point” could be related to achieving the central objective of the project. One project, years ago, which is quoted quite often, is the project that the United States undertook – at the direction of President John F. Kennedy – to land a man on the moon. The simple act of landing a man on the moon was the single, clear, stated objective – or “rallying point”. Whether it is some sort of mission statement or truly an objective, there does need to be a “rallying point” for a project that is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the shared goal of the team.
Implication for your Projects today
What is the “rallying point” on your project? Here are a few ideas, and these do not sound dissimilar to goals or objectives, or in some case missions.
- To implement a customer relationship management system supporting customer service to worldwide customers, by December 31st of this year.
- To reduce defects in our manufacturing process, to a level below that of any of our competitors.
- To have a program in place that consistently educates and trains our workforce, adding certifications for various technical disciplines to our workforce on an annual basis.
- To develop a key indicator score card system for every business unit within the company that rolls down to the unit level, but rolls up to the corporate level by the end of this physical year.
These are very clear goals with specific objectives, and times for achieving them. Presumably, they are aligned with corporate strategy. If placed in front of the project teams on a regular basis, they can form a rallying cry around which both project team members and stakeholders can unite. This can keep people in alignment, and shape decisions that arise as the project moves forward, helping to keep this project within scope and in line with organizational objectives.
John Reiling, PMP