Managers who initiate and lead different projects must demonstrate passion and commitment for what they do. They must help members of their teams to assume responsibilities, gain experience, stick to the best management principles, and play according to the demands of the client. There are some best practices in project management that serve as litmus test for every project manager for their delivery. If these principles are not followed, it can be easy to fall out and do what is contrary to what the customer wanted. What managers do in the project depends on what customer wants, the resources allocated to its achievement and the time allocated for its completion. There are many things that a project manager can do to efficiently use the resources allocated to complete the project. However, there are some best practices that mangers can apply to the projects to make a difference.
One of these best practices are organizational skills; the manager should make sure that everything is in place, the project starts at the formal time and all the important people are present (Press 2002). If possible, the manager should organize a face to face gathering at the project site. This will increase the confidence of the staff in the manager and the customer will appreciate it too.
The other key principle is documentation; a project manager should be thorough and purposeful in their documentation. Formal plan should be created to help to demonstrate how project discussion will be made, each stakeholder should be provided with documentation on their scope according to manager’s perspective and that help the developers move forward in testing and coding the solution they are working on. The formality effort should match with the project’s budget, and should be error free. The documents should at least be peer reviewed before being presented to the customer; an error free document always raises the customer’s confidence. Regular status calls should be arranged with the customer; keeping the customer abreast with the information is very important, it keeps the customer assured that the team is on track and there is nothing amiss. It is important for a project manager to conduct a weekly meeting with the team and the client.
The project leaders should be ready to help the client in testing the project; it is advisable to be present during the testing to help in case of any issues or defaults. The testing serves as the last opportunity for the client to confirm whether the project has met the expectations. Finally, the project leaders should ensure that all the deliverables are completed and signed off, all needed training for the client is done and the testing completed. To do this project leader needs a check list to counter check all completed components of the project at the right time.
Level of Success in Developing Trust
Judy Stokley had a certain level of success in developing culture of trust while implementing her drawdown plans at the Eglin Airbase AMRAAM project. The first example of the success she had was the successful downsizing through corporation and understanding (Carter1999). She invested her time in planning and executing the job cuts at the project. She created the best process of consultation that took interests of all stakeholders, and at the end of the retrenchment process she was the winner. The example of her negotiation and consultation skills can be seen when she went to consult with Chuck Anderson, the head of the AMRAAM program at Hughes to know the exact no was needed at the project. She could have just decided retrench on her own but she decided to consult. By this noble gesture, she won the trust of Chuck Anderson.
The other example, when she greatly succeeded was getting the trust of the contractor to allow change in the way the government and the contractor were doing business. At first it proved to be hard, because Tom Gillman, contracting officer together with some of his top managers had no trust in the government because the government had given promises before but failed to honor their promises. The contractors were so skeptical that the government was capable of living up to the commitment they made. To overcome this skepticism, Judy’s team came up with the steps aimed at enhancing the new culture. She brought the two groups (the government and the contractors side) to discuss what they think hampered their corporation. There was a huge distrust between the teams, but Judy managed to bring the two groups to work together.
Judy made another great achievement by allowing the contractors to do their work without the need of supervision from the government. She did this by eliminating the bureaucracy on the side of the government. This helped the contractors to do their work without destruction from the government’s side. She also enabled open communication between the government side and the contractor; the two groups had a meeting face to face several times a month, with frequent e-mails and telephone calls in between. The government side went freely to seek information from the contractor and got it without problems. This free communication between the Air Force and the contractor was not the norm for the past years. Dennis Mallik was in agreement that Raytheon management allowed them to contact and mingle with freely, something that used to happen before.
Learning and Behavior Modification
Learning and behavior modification is changing the person’s behavior and the way he/she behaves and interacts with other people and the world. Judy used behavior modification to change the way the government and the contractors’ employee interacted to create a working harmony between the groups. One of the strategies she used was shaping; shaping is reinforcement of behaviors that approximate or come to the desired behavior. In this case, the employees of both, the Government and the contractor had a phobia of losing their jobs because of the downsizing that Judy wanted to carry out. This fear had a negative consequence on the AMRAAM’s organizational change. To modify this behavior, Judy applied the concept of shaping; she did this by starting with the easiest program to implement and to be accepted by workers. She started by downsizing, this was not an easy task but it was easily accepted because she was able to explain the necessity to cut cost. The example when Judy used shaping as a behavioral change strategy was when she met with the base commander to discuss the layoff program. The base commander was also adamant that the contractors should not be partnered with but incase should be monitored. Judy shaped the behavior of the commander explaining how making profit will make the contractor to perform their duty efficiently.
Discussion was another strategy that Judy used to change learning and behavior at AMRAAM, she discussed every step she took with AMRAAM management team. This helped in instilling the partnership and corporation behavior that she wanted in this project. The instance in which the strategy was observed is when she held discussion with both teams to encourage them to have what she referred to as a heart and soul relationship with each other. It is also seen when she held talks with Chuck Anderson when she wanted to know the number of people Anderson needed to work within the project. Communication was another strategy that Judy Stokley used in AMRAAM project. Dennis Mallik, a financial officer, recalled how they communicated with the contractor at every level of the project; any problem was communicated between the group and a correct measure was taken to correct the problem. The free communication between the government and the contractor helped to create the partnership that was needed to help in efficient running of the AMRAAM project.
Actions Taken to Change Team’s Culture
Trust is essential when leaders try to create a healthy relationship in an organization; caring and trust among workers must be encouraged. Judy Stokly took several actions with ambition to change culture and create a relationship of trust, mutual support and team culture between the government and the contractors. The key actions she took was, showing care, continuous communication of vision, values, and mission of the organization, and fulfilling promises (Bxj 2013). Judy Stokly, showed care for all the workers in AMRAAM project more so to the contractor, this can be seen when she openly told the base commander that she wanted the contractor to make profit.
There was an increased and continuous communication between the government side and the contractor in the AMRAAM project. This communication was eased by scraping the bureaucracy that existed in the communication channel before. It created the culture of friendliness and team work. This is seen in the communication between Dennis Mallic, the chief financial officer and workers from finance department of the contractors side. He even educated them on how government do their accounts, this in-turn created a relationship of openness and a sense of team work between the two teams. In doing the right thing, taking responsibility for actions taken, and showing trust worthiness, Judy Stokly was able to prove to both teams that she would fulfill every promise that she made. Indeed she fulfilled all the promises she gave to the contractor. She promised that she will not interfere with the contractors work, and she kept her promise. She created her staff in a way that they let the contractors have hand-holders. This helped the contractor to high quality missiles that were less faulty.
Leadership Development Plan
The key personal leadership development plan that Judy Stokly should take to make her eligible for future promotions to leadership roles beyond program director are: first, she should develop a strategic perspective scope, with this leadership trait, she will be able to give definite sense of direction and purpose. Secondly, she should train to have a trait of inspiring and motivating the people she leads and last, she should train herself in building relationships, a leader at higher level of organization needs to know how to create relationships with people within and beyond the organization (Zenger n.d). She will also have to develop and support others that will help her in achieving her goals in her new responsibility. Last, she should have courage; this means that she won’t shy away from conflicts. This will help her to deal with issues head on at higher level of organization where things are more complex than in the middle management level.