LSA Global Insights Newsletter: 7 Winning Ways Effective Project Leaders Advocate for Project Success

4.30.2015

7 Winning Ways Effective Project Leaders Advocate for Project Success

7 Winning Ways Successful Project Leaders Advocate for Project Success

As a project leader, it is not uncommon to be handed a project where the resources available are not adequate enough to achieve the desired results. In fact, project leaders of failed projects almost always agree with this statement from a recent high tech program manager:


"In hindsight, we did not have enough of the right technical expertise or knowledge to do what the project evolved to be or an effective process to judge if we could do or not do something. We asked for them, but did not get them in time. We were told to just work harder."
With every project comes competition for top resources to get the job done. When company leadership tells you there's not enough staff or budget to give you what you believe is required to get the job done, how do you get what you need?

The short answer is by being a strong advocate for your project and your project team.

To successfully lead a project team, an advocate must do much more than just plead the project's cause with a strong voice and subtle (or not) arm-twisting. They must gain respect among influential peers and executive leadership by demonstrating a thorough understanding of the project's business value and purpose compared to other strategic priorities.

They must also be able to clearly articulate the importance of getting the "right resources" to achieve the desired outcome. Successful project advocates employ a disciplined methodology to gain clear, concise, complete answers with their key internal and external stakeholders to the following questions:

  1. Desired Outcomes for the Project - What do key stakeholders (customers, users, managers, partners, team members) want? How do the desired outcomes fit into the company's strategic priorities?

  2. Project End Result and Success Criteria - What is success? How will we know? Why is it worth doing?

  3. Critical Success Factors - What are the critical few things that must happen (or not happen) for the project to have the greatest likelihood of success?

  4. Project Scope - What are the project's key requirements? Critical resources? What are the trade-offs regarding cost, quality, scope and time?

  5. Project Schedule - Who does what, when and with whom?

  6. Key Stakeholders - Who are the critical internal and external individuals essential to the project's success? What's needed from them? What do they need? How often?

  7. Project Risks - What can go wrong? What must we do to confine and control project risk? What are the critical business implications? Strong advocates use their in-depth understanding of the business, the performance environment, and the project itself to influence others to support the project's needs in the manner required for success.

Are you effectively advocating for what you need?

As project leader, be prepared to support the project in whatever way is required... from taking a direct role, to providing staff, budget, equipment, facilities, advice, air cover and time. The ability to effectively influence others to do something they did not know they wanted to do, or don't want to do, is how you can gain a competitive advantage in the never-ending battle for resources.

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About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned