Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsThe biggest challenge that I think springs to mind with me was when we managed the Evoque Project so the Range Rover Evoque the first generation. I was responsible for that, for the supply chain for that car all the way from concept where we'd first shown it at a motor show and calling the suppliers on board who needed to support that all the way through to when we launched the car in Halewood and ultimately globally, and for me within project management we started that journey with a set of assumptions.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 secondsWe thought we were going to build somewhere between 60,000 to 70,000 cars brand new car, new in the marketplace we'd never build a small, no one had built a small luxury SUV before. Basically when we launched the car we thought we were going to do better, we thought we were going to sell about 70,000, 80,000. Within the first year the demand was so high we sold over 120,000 so for me it was even through launch with all the contingency we had put in place it was making sure we could ultimately build the cars and we had the supply chain to manage and to adapt to that.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 secondsSo, yeah for me massive challenge, communication for that was absolutely key so we'd call in, so it wasn’t just a team within my control it was a broader supply base and we would call them in a weekly basis for an audio and a monthly basis for a face to face. Communication was so key we had to lay down new tools, we had to get people to work extra shifts, lots and lots of individual actions to manage it but yeah massive challenge but ultimately probably my proudest moment was launching that car and really transforming our business to where it is today.

Skip to 1 minute and 51 secondsThe biggest challenge is normally around the project sponsor or the project board will always want the project delivered shorter, in a faster time for less money than you have said you can do it. So that’s always the challenge. They always want something faster and for less money so its always the challenge of well what can we do to either speed up delivery or reduce the scope of the project that gives them essentially what they want but within those tolerances. So the biggest challenge for me has been that move from IT services and IT projects through to more strategic projects.

Skip to 2 minutes and 28 secondsThe reason being with IT you’ve got a very defined product at the end and in most cases you're developing a piece of software, or a tool or product someone can use. With corporate projects they tend to have a lot more stakeholders and it tends to be a little bit less defined about what you are actually coming out with at the end and what that project deliverable is.

Project management skills

Projects are all about the people; so it is a combination of this range of skills from the hard to soft and everything that encompasses in between that makes for an effective project manager, by which we mean simply a consistently successful PM. It is about getting the balance of skills right so that project management techniques and tools expedite the project rather than adding unnecessary bureaucracy. The human perspective really matters when handling problems or barriers to success.

(Naybour 2016)

Read the Results and Discussion and Conclusion sections of ‘Effective Project Leadership’ by Krahn and Hartment (2006), which analyses what practitioners consider to be the skills and behaviours of an effective project manager.

Your task

It is essential to understand where one stands concerning his or her own strengths and areas of improvement in order to be a better project manager.

We recommend you check the APM Competence Framework which sets out the competencies required for the effective project management. The self-assessment document includes 27 competencies based around outcomes that project professionals need to achieve and a five-point scoring scale for assessing performance against the application and knowledge criteria.

Reflect on your own project management skills. Are there any that you think you may want to develop further?


References

Krahn, J. & Hartment, F. (2006) ‘Effective project leadership: a combination of project manager skills and competencies in context’. Paper presented at PMI® Research Conference: New Directions in Project Management, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute. available from https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/leadership-project-manager-skills-competencies-8115

Naybour, P. (2016) ‘Project management skills: the hard, the soft and the in-between’. 22 April. available from https://www.apm.org.uk/blog/project-management-skills-the-hard-the-soft-and-the-in-between/

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This video is from the free online course:

Foundations of Project Management

Coventry University