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Here writes for you:

Olaf Hinz was Peer Steinbrück's office manager and now guides managers through challenging waters. Olaf Hinz advises and coaches experienced managers and project managers who want to manage effectively beyond tools and checklists. As a self-confessed Hanseatic, he guides his customers through challenging situations and supports them in fulfilling their tasks with nautical serenity. Before he started his own business, Olaf Hinz worked, among other things, as the office manager of Peer Steinbrück, at that time Minister of Economics in Schleswig-Holstein and personnel manager / project financier at LB Kiel. He publishes regularly on key aspects of his consulting topics and has written several books. More information at hinz-wektiven.de

Project management - more than tools: Leading and leading instead of managing

Leading projects successfully is above all: Management on the verge of chaos! Because things can change quickly. A good captain is needed for such imponderables.


Craft and attitude

Unpredictability is one of the core characteristics of a project. It is in the nature of a project that goals change in the course of the process, that members change teams, deadlines are overturned or the market makes new demands.

Of course, a successful project manager should have mastered the basic craft and be able to plan, document and visualize the project process using the usual methods and tools.

The project leader as foreign minister

In addition, the project's leadership, communication and staging still require something else: an attitude that awakens, concentrates and satisfies seagoing serenity in the project-immanent insecurity.

As foreign minister, the project captain has an important task in providing the project with ideas and information from the company. While the project team concentrates on the internal task, i.e. the factual and technical solution of the project assignment, the project manager is busy identifying the processes and people that are outside and relevant to the project.

Transparency and teambuilding

The project manager goes into the company and clarifies the project environment and the feasibility of the project idea. He finds in the many-voiced choir of the representatives of interests the ones with which he wants to communicate actively, intentionally and influence, and then goes into project communication micro-politically.

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Internally, the project manager, through his leadership behavior, ensures that the project team is transparent Sense and context arise and use the existing group dynamics and any resistance to achieve the goal.

Use tools effectively as tools

Anyone who acts in this way no longer abuses planning tools and PM models to eliminate the complexity, but uses them as a tool to effectively control the project.

Above all, he shows an attitude that is characterized by curiosity, risk awareness and the willingness to make decisions even in unclear situations.

Decide the indisputable

Leading means deciding what is undecidable is the apparent paradox that we owe to Heinz von Förster. Because the decidable is already decided, already regulated in the form of job descriptions, “razor-sharp” interface papers, instructions, rules of the game and agreements.

Therefore, a project manager who wants to be effective addresses the questions that are not already a rule, he turns to the undecidable decisions.

If checklists are no longer enough

The occurrence of undecidable decisions makes it clear that a complexity limit is exceeded, from which the behavior and progress of a project can no longer be precisely calculated and planned, but can only be prognosticated and controlled in situ.

There are no more checklists to hold onto. A manager who is faced with an undecidable decision can ultimately only have recourse to experiences from comparable situations.

The risk of making a wrong decision

The manager in an ambiguous situation has to make decisions based on forecasts and comparing them with his experience. In doing so, she always takes the risk of making a “wrong” decision. Because what alternative is really the "right", it can not know in an undecidable decision.

Effective project captains can ask open questions and actively listen, they master the process management, the control of group dynamics and the lateral management of temporary teams.

Characteristics of successful project managers

The successful project captain differs above all in four points from his colleague, who relies solely on the power of the tools and method:

  • He works with descriptions rather than starting from an “objective truth”.
  • He thinks in alternatives rather than looking for clear solutions.
  • He focuses on networking instead of linear causal chains.
  • He decides the indecisive decisions, rather than deciding in unexpected situations.

Mastering these levels of demands confidently is the big challenge. That is exactly why I like to speak of the supreme discipline of leadership in the management of projects.

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2 responses to "Project management - more than tools: leading and leading instead of managing"

  1. Reiner says:

    Super, super, super! Thumbs up for your contribution to the project management!

  2. Michael says:

    And again a great contribution to project management. For me, your blog is one of the best HR and career blogs ever. If not the best ever!

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