Welcome to another episode of The Navigator, with Brad Malone, Managing Partner at Navigate Management Consulting, and Brad Dempsey, CEO of Solutions 360.
Project accountability means that we all have our roles, and our responsibilities. In previous sessions we discussed the importance of telling the truth early and throughout a project lifecycle. And we have also talked about managing the inevitable change that happens during a project.
It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes an entire integration company to run a project. That count-on-ability happens through the key handoffs over the project lifecycle.
It ultimately resides with the project manager to execute that project. But sales and sales engineering gave birth to that project. So, a key handoff happens from sales to project management. At the end of the project, another key handoff is to the service team. A key customer of the project manager is service.
There are many immature Systems Integrators where the whole operational side has been devalued. In these companies, the sales team is very product-based, and they typically look at labor as a ‘necessary evil’.
Yes, the customer is buying a solution, but we’re going to manage the project predictably and professionally.
“This is our change order process, these are the status reports we’re going to give you.” Integrators should be adding value to the predictability of the project, but many do not do this.
What are the obligations of a mature project manager, and what authority do they need?
A good project manager needs the authority to confront the customer, honestly and openly – whether they are a GC, or an end-user customer. Customers have milestones, and PMs must have the ability to forewarn and educate clients to ensure they meet their responsibilities. Project managers must have the authority to communicate truthfully, and to escalate issues, which then become change orders. Too often, integrators manage projects in a vacuum.
Project managers must be accountable for telling the truth. We find a lot of Systems Integrators either don’t want to know the truth, or they’re not tracking their time accurately, or they just see the PM in this hero/martyr role, as opposed to a true professional role.
Navigate sees that many project managers are not trained to be project managers. “Project Management is a field of study. I have been teaching for the Project Management Institute for 25 years. It’s a profession, but in this industry, we tend to not see it as a profession,” says Malone.
How do project managers make sure they have the right authority to do what they need to do?
How do mature integrators create a team between sales, engineering, project management, operations, and service?
Solutions360 is a proud sponsor of Navigate Academy, the new online training platform developed exclusively for systems integrators.
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