Leading Strategic Projects and still having Fun – Aaron Shenhar

Next day, new talks, and it was hard to get any better. Aaron Shenhar was up next. Author of the Book ‘Reinventing Project Management‘ and for an opinion leader for project managers. A person who has inspired me years ago to adapt the diamond approach for process and change projects which is now part of the ‘Kompendium für ITIL V3 Projekte‘ and in the extracted chapter version ‘Polygon für Prozess Projekte‘. It was great, and one reason why I attended the conference beside presenting, to see Aaron in action.

As one of the key notes speakers and master class facilitators there were two opportunities to see him in action. His keynote was titled ‘Leading strategic projects and still having fun’. His focus was to outline 5 pillars for successful leading strategic projects. To accomplish them he outlined to ‘Take and Make the Power’, as you, as a project manager, are a mini CEO and the leader to deliver the business results. As projects are done to deliver business results, and you in charge, you need to combine the human sides with specific goals. 

It think, this is a very strong statement, that if you do not follow that, is an obvious reason why projects fail.

Many project managers do not request the power or to be empowered. Because, if you do have the power you have the responsibility, and when you have the responsibility, you need to deliver. You are on the spot.

How ever, if you love to deliver and love to have the responsibility and power, claim it and make it happen:

Take & Make the Power.

In regards of my current book project ‘Turn Around – Wenn Projekte kopfstehen und klassisches Projekt Management versagt‘, he mentioned some other interesting topics. He outlined, why in his opinion projects do fail. From my perspective projects do fail. They fail big or small and they are going through crisis. Full stop. So be ready. How ever, here are his reasons:

  1. scope creep 
  2. underestimated the effort
  3. unexpected problems
  4. weak communication, collaboration, motivation
  5. fail to meet business requirements

From his perspective it could be comined in the level of uncertainty that he is trying to capture and identify before hand in his diamond approach.

In every project the knowledge curve is going up during the journey, and there for the higher the level of uncertainty you need to revise prior phases in your projects (Initiation, Planning and Execution) to reflect the better knowledge you have. The number of specification and design phases. Very interesting approach as in projects in my world you do not see that very often.

Just some thoughts from my view. Here are the sketch notes:

IMG 4666


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Torsten J. Koerting

Torsten J. Koerting is a project management-, paragliding- and Outdoor Enthusiast, Consultant, Author of several books and engaged as a speaker at many conferences. As Managing Partner at projectyzer he is specialised in supporting companies and organisations in reinventing their strategy as well as turning projects around that are in trouble. He worked in Europe, US and Australia for more than 20 years for global Blue Chips. He does hold the German and Australian Citizenship and lives with his wife and two kids between Europe and Australia. He is also a certified Bank Clerk, Executive Bachelor and Project Management Professional (PMI) and used to be Board Member of the PMI Queensland Chapter (Australia).

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