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Human factor skills of Project Managers derived from the analysis of the project management processes

Authors:
  • Bern University of Applied Sciences / University of Science & Technology Bydgoszcz

Abstract and Figures

Human factors in projects, example conflict management, process of conflict management, skills.
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PROJECT MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE
ARABIAN GULF CHAPTER
12th Conference, Seminars, & Exhibition
January 27-29, 2009
HUMAN FACTOR SKILLS OF PROJECT
MANAGERS DERIVED FROM THE ANALYSIS
OF THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT
PROCESSES
Presented by
BOGDAN LENT
GROUP PRESIDENT
LENT.CH AG
Prof. Dr. Bogdan Lent, EE, PMI Member, and his group
(www.lentgroup.com) consult and manage large governmental and
non-governmental ICT and logistics projects across Europe and Asia. He
authored 5 books, about 40 papers and 11 patents (www.bogdan.lent.ch).
Prof. Lent is affiliated with National Defence University in Warsaw,
Poland, University of Applied Sciences in Bern, Switzerland, University
of Technology an Life Sciences in Bydgoszcz, Poland and Kasetsart
University in Bangkok, Thailand.
Contact Information: Lent. P.O. Box 7044, CH 3001 Bern, Switzerland,
Tel. +41 79 5030305, Fax +41 31 992 77 58, bogdan.lent@lent.ch
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
2
Executive Summary
Human Factor is the main success factor in project management. Human Factor is difficult
to align with “classical” project management methods like time, cost or scope management,
where the achievements are measurable, methods, techniques and best practices for all
possible cases are available. In job advertisements, which call for project managers, you will
find terms like “shall be communicative” or “team oriented” and you may bet – there is weak
or no interference with real tasks the candidate later has to do.
In search of a proper and justified balance, the “missing link” between the human factor and
the otherwise relevant project manager knowledge is sought. The science and the NATO
practice placed the human factor in line with the management and computer sciences and
extended them with the bridging sciences between them.
The capabilities of project managers may be properly defined only if we understand their
way of thinking. The mental model in their decision process is crucial to the decision speed
as well as to its quality. The cognitive capabilities and personality traits influence the mental
model build-up and its deployment.
With the knowledge “how he works” we may try to answer the question “which exactly
capabilities he needs?” Project manager has to handle several hundreds individual items in a
number of processes – among them the Human Factor. In the “Human Factor Process
Reengineering” we identify the actions to be taken by project manager and subsequently the
capabilities needed to perform these actions. An example of the sub-process “Preparation” in
Conflict Management is given. The capabilities may be derived in a systematic, pragmatic,
heuristic or scientific way – all of them have been exercised in Switzerland. Weighting of the
relative importance between the requested capabilities allows us to asses the candidates:
none of the matches perfectly the desired profile – so a conscious compromise has to be
taken. An easy to understand system of such a balanced process-derived approach to project
management and a visual compact profile evaluation, based on that system, are presented.
We shall conclude that we are rather at the beginning of proper Human Factor approach in
project management – Big Picture and proper methodology are still missing.
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
3
I. WHY ICT PROJECTS DO NOT PERFORM?
After decades of ICT project management with mediocre results [1] one asks himself – what
is going wrong here? Why ICT-projects can’t be handled as majority of the construction or
mechanical projects with predictable time, cost and results? The answer might be “Human
Factor”.
Zhu in his analysis of key project success criteria concludes that irrespectively of differences
related to the assessment of a degree to which humans determine the project's fate, it still
remains well beyond 50% [2]. Wong emphasizes that people, not objectives and processes
create project success as only people can generate the needed motivation and human energy
to get job done [3]. El-Sabaa [4] analyzed 126 projects only to conclude that human (soft)
skills are the most important and the most essential skills of the project manager (Fig1).
The ICT project performance studies of Software Consortium [5] lend credibility to
McConnell’s conclusions [6] which we quote here with our fullest support as follows:
• Performance differences in the order of 10-to-1 or more between different development
teams with the same level of experience.
• DeMarco and Lister in a study of 166 programmers from 18 companies identified
programmer productivity differences in the magnitude of 5.6 to 1 [7].
• Boehm, in a study of 69 projects at TRW, identified that the best teams were at least 4
times as productive as the worst teams [8].
• In one study of 7 identical projects, the developers were all professional programmers
with several years of experience who were enrolled in a computer science graduate program.
The products still ranged in effort by a factor of 3.4 to 1 [9].
Lakhanpal [10] analyzed 31 projects to find out the reasons for the above variations. He
identified the group cohesiveness as the most important factor, followed closely by
individual performance and experience. All three remain within the responsibility of
the ICT project manager.
0%
Human
skills Organiz.
skills Technical
skills
100% 85,3% 79,6%
50,46%
Fig. 1. Importance of Project Manager Skills in ICT projects
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
4
II. HUMAN FACTOR IN ICT PROJECT MANAGEMENT SCIENCE
The new emerging science of Service Science Management and Engineering (SSME) [11]
comprises project management as one of the most progressive and dynamically developing
branches. Within the next five to ten years project management is viewed as one of the five
top "hot skills" around the world [12]. SSME focuses on the skills, which are crossover of
the information technology (IT), organizational culture, and business methods (Fig. 2), as
relevant to manage competently.
The supportive sciences are inherently coupled, opening the vast field of interdisciplinary
research (Fig. 3).
Social science comprises wide area of various disciplines [13], management Sciences
refers to the Organisation and economy, computer sciences focus on data storage and
management.
The NATO approach Command and Control C2 differs from the traditional military
organizational analysis (OA) by the completely new and particularly strong emphasis on
human dimension of decision making. Model, used in C2 (Fig. 4), has three interacting
components: Organisation, Technology and Human.
Social
Science
Management
Science
Computer
Science
Organization
Behavior
Project Management
Science
Cognitive Science
people
Information
Science
people
To capture and create value
Business
Methods
To support and automate processes
To motivate and align people
Organisation
Culture
Information
Technology
Project Management
Fig
.
2.
Skills needed to master SSME
Fig. 3. Scientific areas of SSME [11]
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
5
In this model the organization, technology and humans are in closed interaction.
Performance of a C2 system may change as any of the elements in these three categories
changes.
The Code of Best Practice for Command and Control Assessment, SAS-026, 2004 [15],
quotes that due to a close link between humans, organizational and technological elements,
optimizing each one of them at a time under the assumption that other two will not change
simultaneously, rarely results in an efficient C2 system. So as the organizations and
technology are widely developed and the corresponding research and education are well
established, the human factor still remains as an underestimated factor.
III. CONCEPT OF MENTAL MODEL IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT
The proper analysis of the Human Factor in Project Management is possible only if we
know before how the decision process is taking place.
Fig. 5 depicts a model adopted for further considerations.
Mental
Model
External
Information
Decision
taking
Execution
Tracing
Final
Control &
Closing
Decision
Preparation
Own
Experiences
Emotions &
Motivation
Personality Traits and Personal Values
Human
Organisation Technology
C¦2
Fig. 5. Mental Decision Process
Fig.
4. C2 System [14]
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
6
Mental model plays a key role in the project manager’s decision process. The quality of the
mental model is primarily given by the individual cognitive abilities. Mental model
integrates an assessment of the situation based on personal education, training and intuition.
Familiarity of the situation which project manager faces is given by the mental model
richness, relevance. The resulting mental model confidence has direct impact on the decision
and response speed. The emotions and motivation of the person at the time of acquisition
filter the knowledge absorbed and decide about the willingness to decide. Personality traits
and personal values impact all individual actions. Fig. 6 illustrates the components of such a
model in detail.
From the confidence, which project manager has in the mental model of the situation,
directly depend his risk assessment and subsequently his willingness to decide. Mental
model allows him to assess and decide about the conformity, ambiguous tolerance, and -
finally - the degree of risk he is willing to take [16].
Dimensions of risk taking are depicted in Fig. 7. Capabilities to resolve complex issues
within the shortest period of time constitute the desired qualities of the project manager.
However, even the best mental model leaves always certain degree of uncertainty. This leads
to a three dimensional space with the most and least desired situations [17].
Decision Speed
Response
Speed
Risk Taking
Ambiguity
Tolerance
Conformity
Mental Model
Confidence
Understanding
Decision Style
Awareness
Problem Solving
Style
Impact of Personality Traits and Personal Values
Education Training
Mental Model
Relevance
Mental Model
Richness
Situation
Familiarity
Fig. 6. Mental Model
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
7
IV. PERSONALITY TRAITS AND PERSONAL VALUES
Hardly any other science is so rich in models, taxonomies, and schemes as psychology. An
uncomfortable feeling arises, that none of them represents a system with clear rules and
boundaries. So as long as an authority-based proliferation of knowledge dominates, an
arbitrary set of required capabilities is considered to be the right choice.
Most of today’s assessments in human capital management combine the following seven
methodologies:
1. Big Five (OCEAN): Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and
Neuroticism.
2. Big Three: Positive Emotionality, Negative Emotionality, Indifference.
3. Carl Jung Theory: Extroversive –Introvert, Rational Preference (Thinking-Feeling),
Irrational Preferences (Sensing-Intuition).
4. Maslov, Herzberg: Needs’ hierarchy.
5. Holland’s RIASEC: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and
Conventional.
6. Spranger’s VBDM: Value-based decision making.
7. Hemispheral Lateralization: Brain physiological deployment.
Although we can not diminish the relevance of the above approach, an uncomfortable
feeling of subjective and unjustified set of assessment criteria arises. None of the schemes
above takes into consideration the tasks to be performed by the project manager. This
motivated us to undertake a pragmatic praxis oriented effort to define the activities and
demanded capabilities of the project managers.
Uncertainty
Time Available
Complexity
Most
Desirable
Situation
Least
Desirable
Situation
Fig. 7. Decision making drivers [18]
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
8
V. HUMAN FACTOR PROCESSES IN ICT PROJECT MANAGEMENT
We consider processes, which take place around us, as objective, relative and, most of all,
real. We aim to support the development of exactly these capabilities of the project manager,
which are demanded by the processes in which he is involved and acting in line with the
predefined clear priorities and evaluation criteria.
For this purpose we designed the L-Timer™ system (Fig. 8) of 18 project management
processes, each of them having a clear initial trigger and expected results [18]. The number
of processes is arbitrary. It results from the evaluation of the interaction between 500-800
singular project management actions, which dynamically change over time [19].
Fig. 8. L-Timer™ system
Twelve of them (“Day-time”) deal with the administrative tasks like Planning Scheduling,
Purchase or Change Management, Earned Value or Risk Management [20,21].
BSC
PS
OM
PRM
EVM
DM
KM
IM
CM
RM
PBM
QM
L
HRM
TM
CFM
COM
SM
Leadershi p
Human
Resour ce
Team
Conflict
Communicati on
Person ality
Planning & Scheduling
Organisati on
Purchase
Ear ned
Quality
Documen tation
Knowle dge
Inte
gration
Change
Risk
Proble m
Balanced Scorecard
Administration
L
-
Timer
L
ent
Projekt
Management Timer
© Lent. ch AG
www.l
-
timer.com
Human Factors
Value
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
9
Other six processes cover the activities relate to the human factor (“Night time”). These
are in particular:
• Human Resource Management on how to match personal needs, capabilities with the job
requirements.
• Team Management on how the team cohesiveness influences the overall project
performance.
• Conflict Management on methods, experience, and impact of persistent conflict solution
on team performance.
• Communication entailing the project internal and external information and marketing
skills.
• Self Management (work & life balance): how well project manager manages himself, by
what means? How does he decide?
• Leadership: what does it take to lead a project team? Skills, methods, experience.
It is in the first place irrelevant whether the concept of process-driven project management
follows a concept of 9, 18 or 24 processes. Crucial is, that:
- all daily activities of project manager are considered
- there is a homogenous and understandable system of processes
- all activities are grouped orthogonally that means an activity is considered only once in
one process,
PM BOK [22] considers e.g. Conflict Management as one of the techniques in
Interpersonal skills. L-Timer™ reverts the issue and recognise Conflict Management as
one of the key processes in Project Management (do you know a project, which run
smoothly with no conflicts in team?) which shall be approached with appropriate methods,
techniques (yes, there are techniques for sustainable conflict solution!), check-lists and
eventually supported by the interpersonal skills as presented hereafter.
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
10
The L-Timer™ Conflict Management recognises five sub-processes:
1. Conflict solution preparation process
2. Project team preparation
3. Analysis of the source of conflict
4. Elaboration of conflict solution
5. Securing the persistence of the solution
An example of sub-process “Conflict solution preparation process” is illustrated in Fig. 9.
Fig. 9. Conflict solution preparation sub-process.
L-Timer™ process model is supported by a powerful toll L-Timer™PowerUser,
developed jointly by the University of Applied Sciences in Olten and Lent.ch AG in Bern on
the base of official Swiss Government ICT Project management method tool PowerUser
[23]. Available is also plug-in for mapping of CMMI.. L-Timer™PowerUser is available
freee of charge as an open source download from [24].
START
Is PM part
of the conflict?
Can
PM moderate the
conflict?
Ext. or Int.
Moderator?
Analyze
why not?
Measures to improve
capabilities
Is that
person part of
conflict?
Initiate conflict
moderator
END
Next one
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Int.
Ext.
PM – Project Manager
Int. – internal
Ext. - external
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
11
VI. THE HUMAN FACTOR SKILLS ASSIGNMENT
After having designed all processes as in the example and having all the actions and
decision points allocated to the right processes, the skills, needed to perform these actions
and to take the right decision has to be elaborated.
The exemplary abilities needed in the conflict preparation decision process are given in
Table 1.
TABLE 1. ACTIVITIES AND SKILLS REQUIRED IN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT PROCESS
PREPARATION
No Decision
activities
Skills, capabilities
1. Is project
manager part of
the conflict?
Analytical situation analysis
Communicative personality
Capability to assess the personalities of conflict parties
Capability to keep distance and neutrality
Stability
2. Can he
moderate?
Capability to asses people
Objectivity
3. External or
internal
moderator?
Capability to assess the acceptance of an external
moderator
Capability to choose wisely the internal moderator
4. Is that person
part of the
conflict?
The same as for decision activities no. 1
Actual elaboration of the suitable skills may and shall follow the economic justification of
the efforts in relation to the targeted benefits.
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
12
Most sophisticated (and costly) solution is exact analysis of each action/decision and
elaboration of a suitable skill based on the profound scientific research. So far neither group
in Switzerland entered this attempt. Reported research in the relevant area could be
registered so far at the University in Zurich, both Psychology [25] and IT-departments [26]
and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [27].
The Human Factors Working Group of Swiss HERMES GROUP Community took a
pragmatic approach in specifying what exactly the project manager should know in balance
with his overall knowledge and the HERMES-Project Management Method [28] in
particular.
The group started with the process view of human factors in project management
according to the above described procedure: Process, Sub-process, Required Skills, Skills
Development. Additional question which arose was the assessment of the skills, which the
project manager poses at any given time.
As HERMES is primarily deployed in Swiss Federal Government ICT projects, the group
choose to integrate the specific requirements related to the ICT project management in this
field into their activities. These specialities are, in general, specific regulations and
guidelines issued by various governmental bodies.
Having:
1. The praxis derived required skills,
2. Swiss governmental regulations,
the specific, target oriented scientific base of skills identification is being searched.
Three working teams of 2-3 persons elaborate on each of the above named items.
To be in accordance with the targeted balance between the human factors considerations
and the "classical" part of HERMES Project Management Method, team "Praxis" decided to
develop two models of project manager's profile for further investigations:
1. Project Manager, who works individually with some external support.
2. Project Manager with management responsibility for some staff.
Due to reorganisation of HERMES in Switzerland final results may be delayed until 2010.
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
13
Special attention deserved motivation and project manager skill to motivate (leadership).
Campbell and Pitchard identify three factors, which influence the employee performance:
his ability to work, the work environment, and his motivation [29]. In order to perform the
task in a satisfactory way, it is necessary to have both the ability and the desire to attain a high
level of performance [30].
An environment can be generally considered to be stimulating for our desire to perform.
Usually the HR departments in charge undertake the suitable measures. Contrary, the
motivation as a psychological response to motivating drivers is almost completely in the
responsibility of the project manager. The sensibility of the balance between the task
challenge and skills of each team member may be derived from the Fig. 10.
Fig. 10. Challenge and Motivation.
Motivation of the project manager himself is the key issue: not being motivated himself,,
he can not convincingly motivate the project team.
Boredom
Anxiety
Challenge
commensurate
with skills
„Flow”
channel
Levels of capability
and skill
Degree of
challenge
Low
High
High
Productivity flow channel
When environmental, skill and individual motivators are in
place, “flow” or the highest possible productivity is reached.
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
14
An ongoing research at the Swiss Military Academy at the ETHZ targets vast survey
among the international community of project management professionals. On the basis of a
profound study of literature (about 200 positions) a list of about 70 criteria has been
compiled.
The criteria are split into the following groups:
- Personality (intrinsic) sources of motivation.
- Motivating factors from my nearest collaborators (team).
- Organization in vast meaning, comprising the direct superior as well as an external
customer.
- Task (project goals).
- Impact factors of a specific current situation.
- Leadership in its broad meaning, comprising active employees as well as peer
colleagues.
A pilot survey in Switzerland is done in 2008 and results’ evaluation is expected by the end
of the year. Fig. 11 illustrates the complete system of motivation impact on decision process..
Fig. 11. Motivation impact on project manager decision process.
Mental
Model
External
Information
Decision
taking
Execution
Tracing
Final
Control &
Closing
Decision
Preparation
Own
Experiences
Emotions &
Motivation
Personality Traits and Personal Values
Non-profes
sional
impacts
Area of
possible professional interaction
M i M im M o Mom M m M d M e M c M mp M p M pd M ec M de
Decision motivating and stimulating factors
Biology/Physiology, Cognitive Sources, Psychological a
nd Social Processes, Environment
Self-motiva
tion
Team
influence
Company
influence
Goal impact
Impact of
the current
situation
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
15
VII. HUMAN FACTOR SKILLS BALANCE
We shall recognise, that even if we limit the skills to those only, which are needed to
perform the activities/decisions in project management, still their vast number may either
lead to a:
- coincidental performance of coincidental activities/decisions
- coincidental choice of candidates as project managers
A way to handle the burden is to put a relative weight behind each skill.
Let us say, that all activities in one process e.g. Conflict Management together are worth
100 percent. Shall we have e.g. 50 activities in a Conflict Management Process in total, than
mean value of each activity is 2%. An assignment of a higher value (e.g. 10%) to any activity
(e.g. Capability to assess people (Table 1)) means that this specific activity is 5 times more
relevant to the project success than median. Subsequently in a different place other activities
have to be estimated as less relevant (e.g. 8 activities with only 1% relevance). Jointly these
eight “1%”-skills contribute the 8% above average allocated to our “Capability to assess
people. The elaboration of the weighting scheme is subject to the ongoing research. In praxis
it is arbitrary set by the applying company.
Once the requirements are set, we can assess the actual abilities of the project manager (or
any other project team member) and identify the skills yet to be developed. The procedure is
shown in Fig. 12. More information may be found in [31].
Process
conception
List of activities in this
process
List of skills needed to
perform this activity
Relevance of activity
and required skills
Level of mastering these
skills by PM
Comparing two lists we receive characteristic of PM,
with information:
Which skills are strengths of PM
Which skills does he have to improve
Which skills are
missing and need
needs support
List of most important
activities and skills
Decision activities
Process preparation
Is PM part of the conflict?
Can he moderates?
External/internal moderator
Is that person part of the conflict?
Team preparation
Team preparation
Decision activities
Process preparation
Is PM part of the conflict?
Analytical situation analysis
Communicative personality
Trust winning personality
Good recognition of personalities
Capabilities to keep distance
Capabilities to keep neutrality
Can he moderates?
Decision activities
Process preparation
Is PM part of the conflict?
Priorit
Analytical situation analysis 9
Communicative personality 7
Trust winning personality 5
Good recognition of personalities 8
Capabilities to keep distance 6
Capa
Can he moderates?
Decision activities
Process preparation
Is PM part of the conflict?
Priorit Level
Analytical situation analysis 9 6
Communicative personality 7 9
Trust winning personality 5 8
Good recognition of personalities 8 6
Capabilities to keep distance 6 5
Capabilities to keep neutrality 6 6
Can he moderates?
Conflict
solution
plan
(See Fig. 9. above)
START
Is PM
part of the
conflict?
Can PM
moderate the
conflict?
Ext.
or Int.
moderator
Is that
person part of
conflict?
Initiate
conflict
moderator
END
Next
one
Int
Fig.12. System of Evaluation of Human Factor Impact Measurement [27]
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
16
The resulting cummulative desired profile, both for the administrative as well as for the
human factor related skills, and the candidates profiles may be depicted graphically in
reference to the L-Timer processes as depicted in Fig.13. Dark grey are the Human Factor
skills.
Fig. 13. Project manager cumulative skills
VIII. PROJECT MANAGEMENT HANDBOOK
Skills, demanded and eventually provided by project managers shall be executed along the
rules set up by the company. Often, in case of missing demanded rules, project manager is
asked himself to set the rules for the project. The set of rules is called Project charta, Project
Guidelines, Project Handbook and otherwise. For the purpose of this presentation the set of
rules, which project manager and his team shall follow is called further the project
management hadnbook.
These documents are often created as memoires of “senior gentlemen” or advices of
superiors without any clear reference to the capabilites no to the decision/action to be taken.
Profile Level C
PBM
RM
CM
IM
KM
DM
BSC
PS
OM
PRM
EVA
QM
L
P&S
CFM
COM
SM
F
HRM
TM
Profile Level B
PBM
RM
CM
I
M
KM
DM
BSC
ZVM
OM
BM
ETKM
QM
KFM
KOM
SM
F
HRM
TM
L
EVA
CFM
PRM
COM
P&S
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
17
In presented approach consequently following the identified processes, actions and skills
as shonw above the project management handbook is derived as a set of rules for execution
of the actions, which are defined as relevant to the project performance.
We may identify the so called Basic Rules (B) which are unconditionally mandatory (e.g.
Review of the assessment results of project manager while dealing with the question “Can he
moderate?) and event-related Relative Rules (R) (The assessment whether project manager
is a part of a conflict shall be done by a committee ). All the actrivities and skills are
weighted as presented above. Their importance as well as canditate skills depicted along the
mandatory rules. This allow for an instant evaluation of the relevance of a specific rule to the
overall project success. Fig. 13 illustrate this case.
Fig. 13. Project manager handbook
We may observe that a set of all rules R and B define exactly how the project manager
shall do his job (Body of Knowledge). There is no place for anything, which is not related to
an identified process and does not contribute to the project. The sum of all R and B rules,
along the check-lists CL forms a precise project management handbook. No frills, no wishful
thinking, no rules for actions which do not happen.
Is that person part of the conflict?
External or internal moderator?
Can he moderate?
Is project manager part of the conflict?
Contents Body of Knowledge =
Activity (Example CFM,
method
technique
templa
te
Chec
Σ (Rules R + Event oriented
Relative
Importanc
10
8
7
10
Rol
10
10
10
10
CL
R
R
R
B
B
BB
B
B
CL
CL
CL
Always applicable + Basic Rules
B)
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
18
IX. CONCLUSIONS
Human factor, intuitively perceived by practitioners as a key success factor in project
management, finds its way into the scientific support, albeit not at the pace needed by the
economy.
Assessment of the abilities and capabilities of the project manager has to be derived from
real life requirements. These calls for the balanced knowledge and skills in three areas:
business methods, organisation culture, and technology. Human factor, the main component
of organisation culture, needs systematic development and focus on specific demands of the
project manager. His capability to decide plays here a particular role, inherently linked to risk
taking. Yet, to decide, a notion of motivation is needed. Self-motivation and capability to
motivate the staff have a tremendous (up to tenfold) impact on team performance.
Project management processes, related to human factor, can be derived from the daily
project practice in the same way as planning, control or change processes. This allows us to
define exactly the needed capabilities and their relative relevance. Subsequently the
dedicated supporting tools and methods can be developed. Examples are given in the paper.
Swiss incentives target the human factor related capabilities of the project manager in most
efficient way. Systemic approach is exercised by the Universities in Zurich and Bern. Two
typical project manager profiles are pursued by HERMES GROUP. Motivation is
thoroughly analysed at the Swiss Military Academy at ETHZ.
Once the activities and the decisions to be taken has been identified, the skills and further
the rules related to these and only to these activities/decisions may be named, Only the skills
which are needed and rules which are applicable to the chosen actions/decisions are valid.
This reduces significantly an amount of knowledge demanded from the project manager, The
resulting exact profile may be considered as a sort of contract between the project manager
and the company, represented by his superior. In view of frequent change of the superior
during the project life cycle this formal agreement might be the only reliable guidance.
B. Lent,
Human Factor Skills of Project Managers derived from the Analysis of the Project Management Processes
19
The considerations presented above may apply to any project. Difference is solely in the
degree to which the decision taking, personal abilities and motivation exert their impact on
the performance. In the ICT projects, where the personal contribution is multiplied by a vast
number of decisions taken and by deeply intellectual contribution in production process, this
impact is the highest.
While acknowledging certain level of awareness and reasonable practical approach, we
have to recognise, that the right Big Picture of human factor capabilities and why these and
not the others are needed, is still missing. It is a challenging and fascinating field of research.
The author is grateful for the opportunity to participate and contribute in this field.
Author acknowledges with gratitude valuable comments of the reviewers, which
contributed significantly to the improved quality of this paper and to the organisers who
made this presentation possible.
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