Succeeding with Senior Management

Getting the Right Support at the Right Time for Your Project

 Succeeding with Senior Management

Author: G. Michael Campbell
Pub Date: August 2017
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814438503
Page Count: 224
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814438527

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Understanding the Facts of Life for Executives

EVERY PROJECT MANAGER who has run a project knows that the support of senior management is a critical factor in delivering a successful project--and honestly does not know how to get it. There are great books out there on running a project, from the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), to countless others ranging from the Idiot's/Dummies' guides with practical advice to the 1,200-page tomes like that of project management guru Dr. Harold Kerzner on every detail a project manager could imagine. Again, none of these books can help project managers plan the engagement with senior management--or tell them how to get the support they need when only senior managers can address the issues facing a project.

So if there is an obvious need, why haven't any books been written? I believe part of the answer lies in the nature of project management itself. Project managers think, as the name implies, like managers as they manage their Work Breakdown Structure, schedule, and budget. Senior management generally thinks more strategically and is really not interested in the details of the projects they sponsor.

One senior executive told me that the status report from his project manager was, in his words, "death by details!"

Therefore, sponsors and project managers don't speak the same language, nor do they approach the execution of a project the same way. For example, most leaders ponder long and hard over whether a project should be undertaken and whether the reward is worth the investment. From their strategic perspective, the capital being invested in any given project could have been used in other ways to make the company money, but they determined that this project was the right move, and so they placed their bet. Once they have sifted through all the options and have made the decision to go ahead, they believe their work is largely done. They assign the project to a project manager and expect that person to return when the project is completed--with occasional reports submitted along the way. The only senior manager who is still interested in the project, even though it is often a remote interest, is the executive named as the sponsor.

Project managers, however, are persons whose predisposition is to view a project as a tactical implementation. Therefore, they are often not well equipped to engage with senior management since they tend to focus on tasks and activities and not on the strategic business outcomes that are the focus of senior management. In that respect, they are very similar to middle managers who suffer from the same lack of ability to communicate and engage with their senior executives.

The goal of this book is to provide you, as a project manager, with a clear set of principles, as well as a blueprint for engaging with senior management to get the support you need when you need it.

Excerpted from SUCCEEDING WITH SENIOR MANAGEMENT: Getting the Right Support at the Right Time for Your Project by G. Michael Campbell, PMP. Copyright © 2017 by G. Michael Campbell. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

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