Managing Your Multiple Projects – Get the Exec on Board

Project Managers know that executive support is crucial for successful projects. But did you know that senior management support and organizational culture are especially important for those project managers who manage multiple projects?

A study done on team culture in managing successful multiple projects found that organizational culture was more important, by far, than the culture created by the project managers and teams. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive. Wouldn’t you think that it was the environment created within the project teams that made the most difference towards the success of the project?

Commitment, communication and rewards for performance were the signifiers of a strong organizational culture. In organizations with a strong culture, project team members felt committed to their projects, contributed strongly to project development, communicated with each other to transfer information and knowledge, and were recognized and appreciated for performance beyond expectation.

Senior managers are usually the ones who lead the development of organizational culture. To create this multiple-project-supporting culture, the study found that senior management established a group-oriented organizational culture. That is, they supported project teams and valued working in groups as opposed to individually. They “walked the talk” in leadership by setting in motion policies for team rewards, as opposed to individual ones, and supported group decision-making techniques.

Senior managers developed a collective sense of mission and good relationships with those who followed them.

Organizations that support teams in policy and action = strong success for multiple projects run by one project manager. If you are an executive, are there policies for rewarding group performance that you can introduce? If you are a project manager, how can you incorporate the strengths of the organization, for example, in relationship building or how teamwork is supported, to improve the success of your projects?

Thank you for the research done by:
Managing a Group of Multiple Projects: Examining the Influence of Team Culture and Leader Competencies, Peerasit Patanakul and Zvi H. Aronson, Stevens Institute of Technology – Wesley J. Howe School of Technology Management, January 23, 2013

Brenda Fay