The Project Leader Paradox
(The third of five paradoxes)
... the leader must have the capacity to rise above the issues while
remaining grounded in the project realities ...
The LML is an important component of the DBM. In order for a project manager to
deal with real time issues associated with lower baseline tradeoffs, it is vital to
the success of the project that a sufficiently senior individual be appointed. For
MBV, this means the owner level (vice president or equivalent). It has also been established
within the DBM that the project manager must have the appropriate project management
acumen to deal with the project complexities. A situation where the sufficiently senior
representative has not had the bottom up MBR to MBM to MBO to MBV career path raises
a serious dilemma (see Figure A4).
Figure A4: The Lowest Management Level
At the MBO level, this is not an issue. Project managers are generally developed
from the bottom up. MBV, however, represents a significant departure from this rule.
The LML for an MBV (or above) project is generally assigned on the basis of a sound
understanding of the business and not for his or her project management skills.
Without the project background, an inexperienced project manager is destined to
start at the beginning of the project management learning curve, MBR, or at best,
MBM. Imparting MBR solutions in an MBV environment can be particularly disconcerting
for subordinate MBO and MBV practitioners. By the same token, trying to ensure bottom
up project managers have a sufficient grasp of the corporate agenda can be particularly
stressful to senior management, as shown in the lack of harmony Figure
Figure A5: Lack of Harmony – bottom up versus top down
It is generally at the MBV level that this detachment between the necessity for
bottom up project experience and top down corporate experience becomes an issue. Improperly
managed, the compromise tends to be a top down direction with the injection of project
management practices that are not really harmonized with the work in progress.