Project management is becoming one of the most essential activities in an organization, as the concern now is not only about delivering some form of mechanism but a strategic move that would benefit the long-term existence of the organization. The pressure that accompanies managers to ensure that they deliver on time and within the specified budget is immense; hence failure in most cases is not an option that the management of the team does not take into consideration. Without the proper framework in the management process, projects can fail the company by making customers lose trust in the overall management of the business. In that case, Information Technology managers play crucial roles in project management, and the effort that they put in has a direct determination in the strategic success of the company.
Roles of IT Project Managers in Organizational Leadership
IT project managers can act as team leaders when dealing with various organizational leadership positions. Projects that are large and crucial would require that there are teams taking charge of running them, and managers would be required to lead to these teams. As a team leader, the IT manager can assume various minor roles like being a negotiator and an initiator. As a negotiator, the manager gets what is required of the project from the relevant providing authority and allocates the same appropriately to the relevant activities included in the project. As they negotiate, they have to make sure that they take into consideration the presence of other projects which may also require funding and other allocations as per the overall strategic objectives of the company (Harvard Business Review, 2016). As an initiator, the manager is responsible for ensuring that they show other team members on how to carry out activities rather than telling them what to do. When they act by doing some of the work, it would motivate other people into work, and more so doing the right thing.
The second role is to ensure that people act in a way as to indicate that they are aligned with the overall objectives of the company. The alignment would ensure that all other members work in a way as to directly contribute towards the objectives of the organization. One of the best ways of handling that is by rewarding those who become the best performers in various company activities while encouraging those who do not to improve to work harder so that they can be the best in the coming days (Harvard Business Review, 2016).
Human Resources Factors that affect Project Management
The successful management of a project would require that the right people are placed to carry out the activities involved. A few years back, the management of projects was a simple task, but in recent years, things have since changed as technical ability within the team members is a crucial necessity. In that case, the first factor is the economic aspect, where the manager of the project needs to think of the finances needed to cater to the professional needs of the members of the team. For the success of the team, the individuals need to be trained, especially if they are dealing with a new concept of the project. At the same time, training may also involve the team members training other people to handle the outcome of the project, especially when dealing with the development of an information system which people would be required to use (Harvard Business Review, 2016). The other concern is with regards to the incentives of the project workers, especially when they have to take extra shifts or work for extra hours. The other financial need could be based on the need for additional personnel on a need basis or when one of the individuals leaves the team.
The second factor is that of the social aspect, where the management of the project needs to take into consideration the fact that people from the team will come from different ethnic backgrounds where each would follow what they believe and discard what they do not believe in relation to both ethnicity and religion. The team leader needs to create a sense of tolerance and acceptability within all the individuals so that they can all work well with each other. It is crucial to handle all the social aspects as expected considering that problems could arise if they are ignored. For instance, there could be communication issues, where the flow of information may be hindered, hence stalling the project. At the same time, problems related to work experience may arise, especially when there are members within the team who have no experience working with those who have (Harvard Business Review, 2016). As a leader, one needs to consider these people working together harmoniously, as that is the only way to guarantee the continuity of work at all times even when others leave for other workplaces.
The final factor is that of the technological aspect where different people have varying technical skills with regards to working with the available technology when dealing with a particular project. There are cases when the team may be required to deal with the existing technology and a newer one, hence the ability to incorporate both will be of great essence in this case. This factor is closely related to the financial aspect since money may be required to train the members on how to use the new technological additions or train other people to use the new introductions. In some cases, the manager may be required to get one or two recruits who have the technological competence to work on the project. The main intention is to ensure that the project is worked on and delivered on time for the sake of running the business as a whole (Harvard Business Review, 2016).
Conflict Resolution Techniques
When several people work together it is inevitable to prevent the occurrence of conflicts between two or more people, as they are part of the interaction process. It is crucial to note that the intention of resolving conflicts is to make sure that all members remain productive, even in the aftermath of a conflict. Therefore, the first technique is the negotiation or the reconciliation method, where the manager acts as the middleman who brings both parties together and listens to what each has to say on the issue (Ayoko, 2016). They then ask each person to compromise their stances for the sake of working together, thereby creating a win-win situation for both sides. The advantage of this method is that it cools done the existing tension faster, besides getting a solution quickly. The disadvantage is that the solution may not last for long as the problem may come up again after some time.
The second technique is the total surrender method where the manager listens to both sides of the problem and then asks one of them to give in to the demands of the other completely on the condition that the issue will not come up again in the future. In most cases, the person who has demands that are most likely to ruin the team will be asked to surrender for the sake of ensuring that the team moves on together. The advantage of using this method is that it creates a sense of togetherness, especially when other members realize that one of their members may have surrendered for the sake team cohesiveness (Ayoko, 2016). A demerit is that the surrendering party may feel demoralized from the fact that they are being compromised, especially if they had concerns that were genuine. The final method is the retreat or the withdrawal technique which is one of the best methods, but only if the outcome is positive. When the manager leaves the members to sort out the issue on their own, they may become stronger as a team more than when another person is involved. The advantage of this method is that the leader gets to use their time on other crucial issues instead of being involved in the conflict. The successful implementation of the method also guarantees cohesiveness. A disadvantage is that the manager may lose his authoritative aspect to the team members, while at the same time it may create more enmity within the team (Ayoko, 2016).
There are various forms of leadership approaches, as the implementation depends on the situation that is at hand. In that case, as an IT leader, one may use innovative leadership, which is all about enhancing the creativity skills of the team members. The aspect of innovativeness is crucial when dealing with a new project, especially when dealing with a new problem that has never had a solution before. It is also efficient when working in emergency situations and in cases where the resources are limited. The second approach is being transformational, where the leader inspires the team members to bring in a positive change where they believe that the team will do its best to ensure that they achieve the change (Yamak, Ergur, Karatas-Ozkan & Tatli, 2018). It is an approach that is crucial when dealing with cases of unprecedented changes to the factors that affect the project, like a change in regulations by the government or within the company. The final approach is servant leadership which could be of great use when the leader wants to ensure that all the team members do what is expected of them at all times. The leader puts themselves in the same situation as the rest for the sake of indicating to them that they are part of the team, and not an authoritative figure who is there to give commands (Yamak, Ergur, Karatas-Ozkan & Tatli, 2018).
Ethical dilemmas are common and as a leader avoiding them is close to impossible. As an IT manager, one of the dilemmas that one may face is with regards to accountability, where one may be forced to place the blame on others when things go wrong or do not happen as expected. For instance, if the project stalls, the manager may fail to recognize that part of the fault is theirs, and instead states that it was the problem of the person doing project design (Sortedahl, Mottern & Campagna, 2018). The second one is related to the health and safety of the members, where an IT manager may be tempted to hide the issue and not address it, especially when they are under pressure to beat the deadline of a crucial project. The final situation is with regards to the culture of the workplace, especially when dealing with a multinational project where the people involved come from are of varying nationalities. The manager needs to make all the people be aware of the company culture so that they do not do things that could be offensive to the others (Sortedahl, Mottern & Campagna, 2018).
In conclusion, IT managers are like any other people in management within the organization, which implies that they are also as crucial to the running of the business. It is of great essence that these managers do what is expected of them when leading people. Some of the responsibilities may include resolving conflicts when they occur and dealing with the situations of dilemma. The bottom line is that whatever they do they need to make sure that the business is running smoothly.
Ayoko, O. (2016). Workplace conflict and willingness to cooperate. International Journal Of Conflict Management, 27(2), 172-198. doi: 10.1108/ijcma-12-2014-0092
Harvard Business Review. (2016). Five Critical Roles in Project Management. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/11/five-critical-roles-in-project-management
Sortedahl, C., Mottern, N., & Campagna, V. (2018). Case Managers on the Front Lines of Ethical Dilemmas. Professional Case Management, 23(1), 4-9. doi: 10.1097/ncm.0000000000000264
Yamak, S., Ergur, A., Karatas-Ozkan, M., & Tatli, A. (2018). CSR and Leadership Approaches and Practices: A Comparative Inquiry of Owners and Professional Execut...
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