The Strategic Project Leader

I just finished reading The Strategic Project Leader: Mastering Service-Based Project Leadership by Jack Ferraro….not a bad book.

In section two of his book, Mr. Ferraro writes:

In project management, leadership is desperately needed; leadership that is adaptable, perceptive, timely, meaningful, authentic, and unselfish.

This one sentence sums up the core of The Strategic Project Leader’s message: Project leaders, not project processes, are the future for project management. As the first section carefully lays out, the codification and standardization of project management knowledge has created a commoditized service that can be bought and sold like any other product. However, project managers can resist the force of commoditization by adding personal value to their organizations through leadership.

Ferraro defines a new role for the project manager seeking to be the spearhead of change – the service-based project leader. As the book points out, this role of ‘Project Leader’ is an area of untapped potential in project management. This kind of leadership requires a project manager to provide service not only to a sponsor but to all the project’s stakeholders. By truly serving the needs of organizations and individuals, project leaders find themselves doing meaningful work, a factor that is linked to personal growth and great job satisfaction. Due to the highly personal and individual nature of leadership, it cannot be codified and standardized into a ‘methodology.’

The first section of the book is devoted to this idea of leadership in project management and provides guidance as to how to step up into a leadership role. However, Ferraro also introduces several critical topics not usually found in project management books. He discusses the importance of establishing trust-based relationships with clients, and putting the needs of the client first, ideas that are central to high-level project leadership.

The second section of the book provides more concrete information in the form of a ˜leadership competency framework” that is comprised of five ˜core competencies”. This competency framework is presented in the form of a pyramid:

  • Project & Program Management Knowledge, Skill & Experience
  • Subject Matter Expertise
  • Trust-based Relationships
  • Consultative Leadership
  • Courage

While knowledge of project management processes is necessary as the base of this pyramid, project leaders must move beyond this to become true consultative leaders.

The third section helps the reader create practical self-development plans – a step-by-step guide to improving leadership skills. The final section, written by Roberta Hill, provides a detailed overview of a variety of assessment methods.

Smoothly written and easy to read, The Strategic Project Leader is an indispensable guide to anyone looking to be a leader among project managers.

NOTE: This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

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3 responses to “The Strategic Project Leader”

  1. Jimm Avatar

    I found this book to be very useful for my small business goals. It helped me with how to deal with others particularly in the workplace, and I too would highly recommend it.

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