The statistics of a software development project's success suggest that most projects fail to meet time and budget goals and that many completed projects fall short of fulfilling their business expectations.
We believe the huge discrepancy between knowledge, experience and reality is often the reason software development projects fail.
One myth and misconception in software project management is that all software development projects are the same.
While all software development projects have time frames, budgets, goals and sometimes dead-lines, there is certainly much more to successful software development project management than just a few repeating elements.
In reality, software development projects differ in many, many ways and one size never fits all!
We have learned how to explicitly distinguish between project efforts and how to tailor the right approach to the right project.
There is a clear distinction between operationally managed projects and strategically managed projects.
Operationally managed projects focus on getting the job done, while strategically managed projects focus on achieving business results.
In traditional project management, software development projects typically focused on efficiency and operational performance, which mainly means meeting time lines and budget goals.
Today, dynamic business environments and global competition require finding new ways to make all software development projects a powerful, competitive advantage.
Almost all software development projects are initiated with a business perspective in mind and a goal that is typically focused on achieving better results in a shorter time.
Management teams in strategically managed projects spend a great deal of their time and attention on activities and decisions that will improve business results.
They are concerned with customer needs, competitive advantage, and future market success, and rather than sticking to the initial product definition and project plan, they keep making adjustments that will create better business outcomes and higher competitive advantage.
Such projects, however, are rare today, and most projects are managed with an operational mindset, focusing on short-term results and delivery, such as meeting time and budget goals.
Today's organizations find that dealing with strategy at the executive level is not enough.
The Strategic Project Leader handles all aspects of project leadership: strategic, operational, and human.
In the future, an increasing number of projects will require being managed as strategic activities.
But to make this change, project management research must expand its focus to include the strategic aspects of project management.
The Strategic Project Leadership framework is built on a hierarchy of five components:
While the lower components of processes and tools represent the traditional project management paradigm, the higher levels represent the new approach.
Project strategy, for example, is the new link that must be formally defined for every project in order to fill in the gap between a business strategy and a traditional project plan.
And project spirit means translating project strategy into an inspiring vision, building an environment where excitement and commitment is driving the project team.
Only after selecting the right strategy and creating the right spirit can project leaders plan and build the components of organization, processes, and tools.
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