The project leader is usually the project manager. Like a movie director, the project leader aligns the activities of functional teams to ensure success for the project. The more important a project is, the more people are involved, and the more complicated it is, the more value there is in having an effective project leader.
- Have you ever stopped to think about what it takes to film a movie? I've been lucky to see the process up close a few times, and it's unbelievable how filming even one scene takes a huge amount of planning and coordination. Well, movies are actually projects, and if you're going to lead any project, you'll go through much the same process. So, in this video, we'll look at the different roles on a project team, and see what it means to be a project leader. And we can take some lessons from filmmaking.
For example, a director needs to choose the actors and actresses, and then they need to learn their lines. But they also need costumes and makeup. They might even need some coaching from a voice coach. And then there's the set, the location, the lighting, the sound, the cameras, and maybe special effects or pyrotechnics. Oh, and you need to think about risks like the weather or perhaps someone getting sick. And then, it all needs to come together at exactly the right time.
So, who is the leader of that project? The truth is there are probably lots of leaders on the team, and they're all important, but if you had to pick just one leader, it would be the director. And here's the funny thing. The director may not be a very good actor, may not know how to run a soundboard, and probably doesn't know how to handle pyrotechnics, but the director knows how to bring together the right subject matter experts in each of those areas and how to synchronize their work so that the scene plays out correctly.
Who would ever think about making a movie without a director? Of course, filming a movie is a project. It has a clear goal with a defined beginning and an ending. The director is the project manager for the movie, and the dynamics of this project and team are similar to those for any cross-functional project team. You have groups of subject matter experts working on their piece of the project with leaders in each of the groups, and no matter how good they are and how well they do their jobs, in the end, they can only be successful if all of the other functional groups delivered their part of the project correctly, too.
While there may be many leaders who support a project in some way, there should still be an overall project manager to direct them. The director can't do their jobs for them, but the director can offer suggestions, negotiate changes, and manage the trade offs that arise without compromising the final product. Missteps and rework can stop a project dead in its tracks and can lead to failure for the project team, but when there's a good leader directing the team, there's a much better chance that the whole project will be a success.
- Defining the vision
- Documenting the project scope
- Investigating potential options
- Conducting a SWOT analysis
- Selecting a course of action
- Resolving issues
- Building trust with transparency
- Managing project plans
- Identifying risks
- Changing processes
- Helping people transition