How the Project Manager’s Vision Can Save a Project

Research from Harvard indicates that the major qualities that people expect to see in leaders–but not necessarily in their other colleagues–include being forward-thinking and encouraging others to look towards the future. This means that you as a project manager are critically expected to understand your project from a strategic perspective. In a post at her website, project leadership coach Susanne Madsen further elaborates on this coveted attribute.

Solidify and Unify the Vision

In order to be the best project leader, a person needs to look toward the future constantly and work closely with their clients and stakeholders to define goals. True project leaders actually play a pertinent role in shaping the vision, rather than merely accepting it. Yes, delivery of a quality product is certainly pivotal too, but that product will be even better when the project leader is contributing to the big-picture view of it.

It is a common misconception to believe that the client knows exactly what it is that they need, since they have presumably accurately analyzed their current situation. But just because they understand their present situation better than the project leader does does not necessarily mean they have a better understanding of how a specific new product or service will make things better. This is where (your) additional expertise might be welcomed, and where some needed course correction could occur.

There is the occasion in which the project manager will have the opportunity to work with executives who already have a clear-cut vision of what they want and need. This is however uncommon. An alarming 60 percent of projects do not align with strategic objectives according to the Project Management Institute. This high percentage is the precise reason why project manager need to step up and help connect vision and delivery.

In order to best do this, they need to help their stakeholders better visualize the end result. They additionally need to ask the tough questions and push the boundaries of normal. If project leaders do not venture to ask these tough questions, then how can they truly add value?

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About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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