Charlie Mayes takes time in this post to reflect on the recent creation of a new academy created for civil servants ( a joint venture between the Major Project Leadership Academy and Oxford University’s Business School). While Mayes sees the value in this development, he is also concerned that the new academy will miss out on a very large element of good project management: learning the soft skills around managing people, emotions, and confidence:
I have often found that project or programme managers who are not professionally assertive are liable to “˜bend with the wind’, becoming reactive in the face of strong-willed stakeholders who may not be aligned with the programme in the right way.
The net result is that the programme gets driven off course and the manager ends up in the firing line. It’s important to develop a person’s managerial courage, along with the ability to articulate their concerns and vision, so they are equipped to deal with these situations.
Mayes then goes to list a few examples of where program management capability caused big projects to fail, along with a lack of understanding in regards to “human complexities”. In the end, people make projects succeed, and focusing on those people is the way to assure projects move forward instead of fall back.