Daniel Minahan, MSPM, PMP, CM, CAPM, CSM
Entrepreneurship sounds like fun and can be rewarding, but what if you don’t have the funds or risk tolerance for the lifestyle?

Another avenue would be intrapreneurship, which is entrepreneurship within an organization. Intrapreneurs are essential to organizations that want to innovate. Often, employees are stuck doing the day-to-day work to ensure managers are satisfied, clients are served, or customers’ needs are met. The employees may not have the time or resources to be innovative; therefore, it is incumbent upon leadership to identify those with innovative and entrepreneurial skills if an organization is to start an innovation group.

Intrapreneurship was said to start back in the 1940s (debatable origin) with Lockheed Martin and the Skunk Works group. This team was brought together to develop a jet to compete with German jets during World War II. The Skunk Works team set the precedence of autonomy when setting out to develop innovative products. Autonomy is essential to get those teams away from the “flag pole” or “corporate” or whatever you want to call management. By getting away from management and others in the company, it will allow the team to truly innovate without their influences.

Below are some indicators that I have found that may help identify intrapreneurs amongst your teams:

1. A team member who’s innovative and has great ideas and is not scared to execute on those ideas. Timid innovators may shy away from exploring new ways of conducting business.

2. A team member who can work independently and on teams effectively. Need team players on this. There may be a few selfish individuals, but a strong leader can herd the cats to get the project complete.

3. A team member who is trusted by management, other team members, and the client if there is one. Without this, there is little chance the project will get greenlighted.

While basic, these are key for management to trust that innovative work will be accomplished. When you find these types, ensure there isn’t a smokescreen up hiding poor results or work. Some employees can talk a big game and “brag,” but when their work is investigated, it is all talk and no action.

The key is to have trust in the team and to give them autonomy. While hard, it is necessary for true change and innovation to occur.

There are many ways to innovate in today’s corporate world, just need innovative minds to take charge. 

 
 
Daniel Minahan, MSPM, PMP, CM, CAPM, CSM
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Project Manager, Project Leader, what’s the difference? Well, if done correctly there can be a great difference with one goal in mind, project execution.

Leadership and leader are thrown around in a way that sometimes can allude to those leading or managing projects, missions, etc., but are we talking about management or leadership?

Management is defined as the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.

Leadership is defined as the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.

Very similar, but truly different roles in a business setting. Leader is thrown around all too often as someone in charge, but shouldn’t we leave that title to someone who can actually lead? In the management definition, it doesn’t say they “lead”, but deal or control. Everyone knows some managers that deal or control, but can’t lead. For the leader it does not say they are good at dealing or controlling, but rather leading or commanding. How many leaders have we known that were not good at paperwork, not very organized, or could not draft a technical document, but they could lead people all day to accomplish anything? Very different. The military has seen both before in the role of Officer and Noncommissioned Officer (NCO). There are plenty of great Officers that were managers and leaders and NCOs that were managers and leaders; however, in the context of project management, they both have roles to fill. The military does project management all the time in most aspects of daily operations. Deployments are a project, exercises in the field are projects, and even going to the range is a project. If we follow the five phases of project management from the Project Management Body of Knowledge, here’s an example of a qualification range (not all inclusive as a range is a lot more than below):

Initiating – Company or Battalion Commander determines the need for a qualification range to get the troops qualified. An officer in charge (OIC) and noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) are selected to run the range.

Planning – The OIC and NCOIC plan the entire range from ammo pickup, to troop movement to the range, to firing, and then closing the range. Every last detail is planned to ensure success.

Executing – The day starts with vehicles being lined up outside the arms room and weapons draw. The NCOIC is running around executing the entire plan from the beginning of the morning, through the range, and to the last firing order.

Monitoring and Controlling – The NCOIC is ensuring his team leads are executing their duties and all the deliverables are being delivered (e.g., weapons draw, vehicles lined up, troops arriving, range being set up for firing, firing orders qualifying, and paperwork being collected on the troops qualifying).

Closing – Final deliverables of all firers qualified, range cleanup, weapon turn in, and after action review are all delivered. The NCOIC releases the troops and team leads and ensures the OIC is good to go with all the paperwork necessary for the commander.

Replace the OIC with project manager and NCOIC with project leader. The OIC is responsible for the entire project and will do the majority of the planning, whereas the NCOIC will do the majority of the execution (in a perfect environment). The OIC is present the entire time, but it is the NCOIC who usually has more experience and knowledge of the mission or project to lead the troops. Usually a Lieutenant is given the responsibilty of being the OIC and a senior Staff Sergeant or Sergeant First Class (U.S. Army) will be the NCOIC. The Lieutenant, as the OIC or project manager, is trained to be a manager and the NCOIC has been groomed to be a leader. Both are necessary to accomplish the mission and the same is true in project management.

Watching Band of Brothers last night, episode “The Breaking Point”, I saw what I was explaining above in action. This episode was about the final days in Bastogne before they launched the attack on the town of Foy. The theme was about the lack of leadership in their company commander (manager) and the company First Sergeant, played by Donnie Wahlberg, portraying the true leader he was. We also saw both a great manager and leader in action, CPT Speirs, who at the time was maybe beyond what is acceptable in today’s military, but followed by many and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army.

In the simplest form, a great leader has people willing to follow, while a manager may have those willing, but also unwilling to follow, but are required to due to the position they hold.

A great project manager doesn’t need to be the expert on the project, but rather a solid manager that deals and controls people. The project leader should be your expert and should leave the managerial aspects to the project manager. In a perfect world the project manager will be both manager and leader, but reality sets in and it is not always the case, so why not have both?

There are many names for the leader on the project, from subject matter expert to project engineer to name a few, but why not establish the establish the position.

Are you a better project manager or project leader?


 
 
Daniel Minahan, MSPM, PMP, CM, CAPM, CSM
Just because someone has a PMP does not mean they are a certified project manager. There are certification bodies that certify project managers (e.g., IPMA), so let’s stop assuming those with PMPs are project managers, they are actually Project Management Professionals. That means they are versed and certified in project management knowledge areas, processes, tools and techniques, and the language of project management, set forth by the Project Management Institute (PMI). While they may not be the official governing body of project management, they set many standards and continue to update their credentials and certifications to stay relevant in the project management world.

I view PMPs as those who have been in the project management field that want to showcase their knowledge and dedication to the profession, whether project analyst, project coordinator, or project manager. There are plenty of project managers that do not have certifications and are very good at their job, and there are plenty that are not and the same for those that do have certifications. Just like a degree, it will get you in the door, but you must prove you are good at what you do after you get hired.

I do recommend obtaining certifications and furthering education, it helps prove you are dedicated to your craft; does not mean you are good at what you do, only your work will prove that.

“By the work one knows the workman.” Jean de La Fontaine, Author, Fabulist

Project management is a growing field and there are plenty of certifications, certificates, and education opportunities, but remember…Not Every PMP is a Project Manager!