Project Practitioners > What’s the [Complete] Big Idea?

What’s the [Complete] Big Idea?

By Randy Englund

A person embracing a more complete project manager mindset integrates key people, organizational, and technical skills. Success in any environment largely depends upon completing successful projects, and successful projects get done by skilled project managers and teams, supported by effective project sponsors. Persons who integrate more knowledge and a diverse set of skills make an enormous difference in achieving optimized outcomes.

Complete vs Incomplete:  The Big Picture

A Complete Project Manager extends fundamental knowledge of project management to integrate key people, team, business, organizational, and technical skills, drawing upon multiple disciplines for knowledge, practices, and insights. This concept builds upon the Project Management Institute’s Talent Triangle that addresses Technical Skills, Leadership, Strategy and Business. The “right” set of skills to achieve “completeness” depends on individual starting points, aptitude, attitude, desires, and supporting context.

Complete incomplete
Much like organic proteins may be complete or incomplete, completeness in this context taps your passion, persistence and patience. Achieving outstanding project and organizational results requires passionate belief in your projects. While this comes easier with worthwhile projects, changed thinking may be required on challenging or questionable projects. That takes time and dedicated effort. A complete project manager needs to persist, much like an infectious mosquito, with all project stakeholders, and use your patience to get results.

In contrast, many or perhaps most of us are incomplete when it comes to skills, knowledge, and attitude that lead to consistent project successes. As a consequence, project failures are all too common. We suffer from missed deadlines, insufficient resources and support, missed commitments, surprises, new challenges unprepared to meet, unhappy team members and customers, career stagnation, unfulfilled dreams and aspirations, perhaps even depression. We think we are doing our job, after all we were trained as professionals, but we appear myopic and blind to the bigger picture. Struggles are all too common. We are victims of politics, disappointed that our ideas are not accepted, and we do not get others on our side. Strategic goals are a foreign concept. No wonder we are stuck on a plateau. We often feel incomplete because of our continuous desire to improve. We need to squarely face personal deficiencies. We strongly believe that continuously moving forward and improving needs to be cultivated by every project manager—lifelong continuous learning.

Who Are You?

It is also a good idea to establish your brand—brand “YOU”. That way people sense and appreciate consistency in what to expect from your involvement and efforts. Getting results on every assignment and using social media appropriately, including blog postings, are ways to do this. Integrating skills from multiple disciplines…and applying them effectively…are the means that contribute to the uniqueness that is you.

An organic approach to project management is appropriate:  adopt, adapt, and apply effective concepts from nature to make organizations more project…and people…friendly, leading to greater value‐added outcomes and better economic results. Embrace a mindset that your actions help create the right environment to “grow” people to produce their best work. This belief states that all leaders need to create healthy environments for people to consistently and sustainably achieve project success.

There is hope. When operating in our strengths, regardless of personality—being introverted or extroverted, quiet or loud—we can get along with others, share the credit, and complement each other. Being mediocre or overconfident are not good options. When we pair up with people and team members who possess complementary strengths and skills, we become more complete. Opposites can thrive in exquisite harmony.

Quest for Excellence

Being excellent does not necessarily mean being successful; it means doing extraordinary things that you initially thought you would not be able to do. Everybody can put it in practice and try it. Purge I can’t do it statements. This journey may not be a path of roses—you may find a lot of thorns along the way—but if you believe, you can.

Today is a wonderful day to start; if you dedicate time and effort to open your mind and face new possibilities, tomorrow will be even better.

Randall L. Englund, Englund Project Management Consultancy,

(from the Introduction to the new Berrett-Kohler Second Edition publication of The Complete Project Manager: Integrating People, Organizational, and Technical Skills, co-authored with Alfonso Bucero.)

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