Meet Tom, the founder of T&M Project Management (Pty) Ltd. Tom started his company in 2012 and now runs a team of 15 individuals. They work with different industries and take on projects of all sizes.  To consistently deliver business outcomes in a dynamic digital age where priorities, scope and urgency are in constant flux, Tom needs a project management workforce that can adapt to change rapidly. Tom, as many other organisations, have made concentrated efforts to recruit, train and develop entrepreneurial project manager. These individuals possess a set of critical entrepreneurial skills, including

  • Judgement – Being able to make good decisions in difficult situations
  • Stakeholder Partnership – Communicating effectively by adapting communication style and message to diverse audiences
  • Learning Agility – Being able to reflect on an experience to improve future performance
  • Team Leadership – Motivating teams to support company goals; effectively developing staff skills and capabilities
  • Business Knowledge – Understanding the linkage between each project’s goals and company-specific business context
  • Risk Management – Aligning project decisions with the company’s risk profile

Research shows that creating the right kind of project management environment can increase project manager effectiveness by an average of 8,5%. It can also boost project manager engagement by 12%, leading to higher levels of willingness to go above and beyond their basic responsibilities.

To realize these benefits, Tom and leaders like him, must engineer their project management environment around these five key pillars:

  1. Business partner engagement:Driving business partner support for project manager performance. Effective business relationships are key to your success.
  2. Goal and reward clarity:Clarifying project management staff’s understanding of their role in achieving organizational goals. The clearer they can see their targets, the easier they can hit them.
  3. Decision autonomy:Empowering project managers to independently make the decisions needed to drive project outcomes. This has a direct impact on whether you meet your deadline or not.
  4. Project management community:Helping project staff build and connect to peer and manager networks. This can be done through mentorship programs or social events organised by the company.
  5. Delivery support:Providing project managers with process and resource support for effortless project outcomes delivery. Remember to reflect on each project to improve future performances.

By thoughtfully engineering this type of environment, Tom and other leaders like Tom, can ensure they have project management staff who are both comfortable and able to act in moments of high pressure or ambiguity—critical behaviours in the digital age and entrepreneurial environment.