The Perfect Project Leader does a lot of things right, but here are the 3 main things they do.
1. They get the best people
The Perfect Project Leader builds a team with the best people. But even more important than this they are quick to let go of underperformers. The Perfect Project Leader knows that even a small number of underperformers in key positions can run a project into a death spiral. Underperformers cause chaos and frustrate high performers who find their job devolving into reactively fixing fully preventable problems caused by the underperformers. So over time, the high performers leave, but the underperformers tend to stay on so over time the talent density of the project diminishes until only poor performers remain. We have all seen zombie projects like this.
2. They implement pragmatic processes
The Perfect Project Leader understands that a project is just a bunch of people exchanging and generating information and that the faster information gets to the right person the better the project performs. So they ensure they get the basics right by ensuring the team sets up fundamental processes. But the Perfect Project Leader doesn’t stop there. The Perfect Project Leader understands that often project teams respond to problems by inventing new processes, over time this leads to process bloat that turns the project into a slow-moving bureaucracy. The Perfect Project Leader creates accountability and ownership of each process and implements continuous improvement to enhance processes over time or remove them if they aren’t adding value.
3. They equip the right tools
So the Perfect Project Leader has the right people and the right processes. Now they need the right tools to create efficiency by cutting down manual tasks. But the tools also generate vast amounts of structured data which is captured by using digital tools for the project’s processes and workflows. The Perfect Project Leader can then employ analysts to turn this data into actionable insights that point out the areas where the project needs management intervention to keep it on track or even predict problems before they happen.
The formula of being a Perfect Project Leader is not exact, but knowing what the benchmark for a Perfect Project Leader is can help us improve and strive towards it.