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Managing projects: from wanting to choosing

Bos en Harting write about the art of focusing in their book 'Creating projects' . They call it "from wanting to choosing". How often does it not happen that someone is asked if he wants to do a certain job? But rarely does anyone say 'no' . People often say yes. They do not do anything yet. Only when you ask a second or third time do they start moving. And even then it goes with difficulty. And that is not so strange. There is more work on your plate and that also has to be done. Incidentally: we are not talking about a small project of two weeks that can still be added. We are talking about those projects that really demand a choice.

An important aspect of project-based work is that you have to succeed in such a 'yes, if I have time and are not burdened with other jobs' to build a simple 'Yes, I want'. In other words: a conditional yes becomes a resounding yes. You choose to tackle that one job and put everything else aside. And such an unconditional choice means that you have to go back to a number of personal motives. The project result is the common goal of the project team. However, in order to ensure that the team members make every effort to achieve that result, they must also be able to realize one or more personal goals in that project. A chance to look a bit further in the organization for example. Only then do you really choose 'yes'. In the words of Bos and Harting: "Something" want "creates the spark to get going; choosing something from the inside means the fuel to achieve the result. "

For the project leader, this means that he personally has to make such a choice but also that he must help his employees to make that choice. He will have a solid conversation with every project employee about their 'yes, I want'. Employees must therefore discover what makes them better, they should discover how this project helps them on their way. But if an employee fails to answer that answer, you have to scratch your job as a project leader. Should you continue with that employee? Yet even more searching!

This aspect of managing a project is probably the hardest to learn. You have to enchant your employees and your environment, as it were. You must be able to give them a dream, you must be themshow something that does not exist yet . Such a dream focuses on the team, such a dream gives direction to the whole acting of the team. But there are more things that make managing a project special.

Esther has a lot of experience in making websites. She has built a website for her village, she built a site for the playgroup and she built a site for the theater association. Those sites look nice and attract a lot of attention. She likes it and wants to go further. In daily life, Esther is a doctor's assistant in a large group practice. If one decides to develop a website for practice, Esther reports enthusiastically. For her, this is the chance to gain experience at a professional level. Overtime is no problem for her. She has chosen!

What makes projects lead so special?

Elsewhere on you will find the introduction course 'Management' . This is why we limit ourselves to managing a project team. What is so special about that? What are the differences between a regular manager and a project manager? We list the most important differences.

The project manager is considerably more result-oriented than the normal manager. The result is sacred for the project leader. He will be paid for! That has consequences for his leadership. While some managers sometimes exaggerate their care for the employee, the project manager will still be a task-oriented leader . That certainly does not make him a bogey man. If he has a good project team, perhaps he will mainly focus on the collaboration or opt for a more facilitating style. But in his actions, the result is paramount.

A project is temporary . The project manager is avoiding problems in the long term that have nothing to do with the project. Conflicts that do not influence the result will let the project leader walk. The upcoming reorganization of the head office will only take place in a year. The project manager is shifting it away. This also affects the care for the people. A project manager only has people with him temporarily. Sometimes he is the hierarchical boss in every way. Often not. But because a project is temporary, the project manager does not have to or hardly ever interfere with the personal development of the employee. He will complete an assessment form afterwards and explain it. And during the project the project manager will obviously show a warm interest for his project staff. But when the project is finished, the project manager goes to another job and to other employees.

As a project leader you are usually not the hierarchical managerfrom your project staff. You direct your employees; however, the overall assessment and career development are tasks of their hierarchical superior. That is sometimes difficult. For example, the direct supervisor lacks concrete input for the assessment. He has to do with what he knows about others. A solution that is often used is to conduct such meetings with the three of them: project leader, project employee and direct supervisor. Although it takes more time, it can still be efficient. It ensures clarity between them and therefore saves recovery time. In any case, it is wise to sit down at the table with the three of you at the start and at the end of the project, and to record the expectations over and over again. Topics must in any case be the duties of the employee, the method of assessment,

Adjusting is often done by a regular manager with a soft hand. Slowly, the line does not break. The project manager does not have time for that. He is shorter by the turn. He can't afford long assessment procedures. Specially since his team is probably under high pressure and is quite susceptible to interference. Mutual quarrels can simply not be had.

The project team is very heterogeneously composed. A project is a multidisciplinary oneorder. So there are people who participate in a very different profession. That also means something for the manager. But not only do the project staff practice a different profession, they are also rewarded differently each time. Yet they pull the cart together. The secretary with her half job and € 700 per month and the HR manager with € 2,700 per month plus a company car: they work together on the same result. They are under the same pressure. They form the team with their colleagues. The HR manager will be able to handle this. But what about the secretary? For the project manager, a major problem is lurking here. Part of the solution lies in situational management.

Just an explanation. Situational management assumes that employees differ and that you, as a manager, must also use a different approach for different employees. So you have to make a difference. And that while you as a project team are often under great pressure. Differences in rank and position then quickly disappear or are briefly swept under the carpet. There is a team spiritand that team spirit is contrary to making a difference. But one project employee is HR manager and the other is secretary. Each has its own expertise. When it comes to working together on the project result, as a project leader you will also have to use and appreciate that expertise. But with that collaboration each has its own task. At that level you can certainly make a difference. And then you come to the HR manager very far with delegating . At the secretary you may have to use a more convincing or conferring style.

"That never works! Now believe me. You can never hang such a matrix organization in a product-oriented environment. It's nice to think along with you, but I've learned for it. "Quarrel in the team. Hans is an organization expert and HR manager at the university of applied sciences. He has made an organization chart for a new leg of the university. Hanja, secretary, note, wipe the floor with it. She has worked for many years as a management assistant at one of the programs of the university of applied sciences and has seen all these models come and go. She may not know anything about organizational science but everything about organizing. Her adaptation to Hans's model is just right. She finds. If that is not taken over, she cuts it. Find them another. She has been asked for this project groupbecause she has so much experience. She brings in that experience and now it is not good again. Arrogant ball!

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