High-Performance Project Implementation
In today's organizations, much of the work gets done through project teams, which is why Guttman has designed a project management program that uniquely combines leadership skill development and team dynamics with the mastery of project management tools.
An information technology company
The VP of R & D of a West Coast information technology company was increasingly concerned about the inability of project teams to deliver projects on time and goal. Highly technical team members were experts in food science but unable to go from idea to commercialization. They lacked EQ and interpersonal skills. The multicultural setting—Indians, Russians, Mexicans, Chinese, and Americans—added complexity to the situation. As a result, most projects ran two-to-three times longer than anticipated and habitually over budget.
Guttman’s charter: Transfer project management skills to four key teams, responsible for a total of 75 projects. One team was up and running; the other three were about to be chartered. Our aim: Go beyond developing the standard skills relating to GANTT Charting and Work Breakdown Structure to developing leadership skills and high-performance behaviors on teams and ensuring alignment of project goals with outcomes at each phase of projects.
In an initial meeting with the VP of R&D, the project sponsor overseeing the entire project portfolio, we drafted an overall project charter and selected four project team leaders. After several meetings with the sponsor, team leaders, and, ultimately, the entire teams, to ensure alignment on objectives and expectations, Guttman highlighted the importance of developing high-performing leadership behaviors. It was as important as technical mastery of project management skills. Guttman then conducted a series of two-day programs for core team members. Sessions ran the gamut from project management skills to how to align project objectives with work flow and outcomes to how to capture lessons learned at each step of the process. The final step: Learning by doing, with live action coaching conducted as teams worked through project implementation.
Results: The existing team delivered its key project on time—based on its renegotiated schedule—finally, four years late! Two other teams met project objectives on the first project each tackled. The fourth team soon neared completion on its project, per plan. Team members were able to navigate myriad potential problems, especially those relating to interpersonal conflict.