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26 de enero de 2014

CEO at MYPROJECT Inc.


Somewhere I read that a Project Manager should think and act like a CEO of a small company, being that enterprise the project itself. How should you behave when appointed as a CEO at MYPROJECT Inc.? 
  • If you have the habit of committing, then you will feel responsible of effectively managing resources (money, people, materials, etc.) entrusted to you. 
  • If you have the habit of planning, you will know better than anyone about the vision, mission, values, short and long term objectives, potential threats and opportunities, relationships with third parties, process assets, quality standards, etc.
Those two habits (committing and planning) are really important, but for a CEO, it may be more important the habit of “getting things done”.

Getting Things Done as a CEO at MyProject Inc.


  • CEOs don’t do the work themselves, they delegate effectively on stewardships —they don’t treat people like “gofers” as if they didn’t have any judgment. It is not very effective directing on each task, nor going deep inside into details. Any effective delegation implies agreeing on five areas: 1) the desirable results; 2) the guidelines on how to do; 3) the available resources; 4) the evaluation mechanisms and 5) the consequences of good and bad performance.  
  • However, delegates don’t do everything. CEOs devote most of their time to executive communication. Reporting about getting things done and results does not have to saturate with operation details. As the CEO of MYPROJECT Inc., when you speak in the shareholders' meeting”, your messages have to be clear, synthetic, information based, factual. You summarize what has happened in the past and predict what is going to happen in the near future. Steering committee members ask high level questions that you had already anticipated. Your answers are straight to the point.
  • And last, but not least, the ugliest part of being a CEO is that mistakes are paid: you can be accused, demoted, destitute, even prosecuted! Some mistakes are yours, some are from others. To protect yourself from other’s mistakes, the only thing you can do is what I call “expiation management”. Maybe it is not necessary in the end, but it doesn’t do any harm if you maintain a log with the significant events, decisions taken, who did what when, who originated the issues, who assumed what risks, what was the own judgment and advice, etc.

In our field of Project Management, there are many well known techniques to produce an “executive communication”. Here we are just some examples

  • Communicating on cost and schedule variations could be based on the standard EVM (Earned Value Management).
  • Scope control can be graphically expressed on a WBS diagram, with the percentage of completion on control accounts.
  • Status reports could be institutionalized across the organization. Recipients would appreciate the use of dashboards and RAG indicators —Red: the project is now off-plan and drastic action is needed; Amber: substantial or corrective action is required; Green: the project is on-track and likely to meet expectations.

Regarding “expiation management”, I’d like to give just two recommendations for starters: 1) a risk register and 2) an issue log.

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