This paper was originally published as The Strategy of Running Temporary Projects, Innovation, 1971. Although published over thirty years ago, we believe that its perceptive insights are just as valid today.

Thanks to Bob Youker, World Bank (Retired), for bringing this paper to our attention. The paper has since been edited for web presentation, Editor

Copyright: Lawrence Bennigson, MA, 02108. Email: lbennigson@hbs.ed.
Published here August 2004.

PART 1 | Introduction | Project Integration
The Need for Visibility | Personal and Professional Security
Tradeoffs are the Hallmark of the Strategic Approach
Success Criteria for Our Air Pollution Abatement Program 
Selection of Key Management Positions | In Summary ...

Selection of Key Management Positions

The next part of the CPMS to be designed involves the selection of key management positions and managers. The alternatives might include no special managers, a general coordinator, or a clearly identified project manager. With the aid of a table like the one above, we arrive at the decision that a project manager should be designated and assigned responsibility for completing the project. In the same fashion we choose major approaches to planning, controlling, and information-gathering elements of the CPMS. Each time a decision is made, new constraints are added and new problems to be solved are created.

Since there are many kinds of tradeoffs and compensations that could be made, the scenario might continue in any number of ways. One example:

An individual close to the mayor, working in the Budget Department, well known for his interpersonal skills, and respected by most city administrators is identified as project manager. His closeness to the ear of the mayor gives him a power base and will help him in obtaining commitment to the project from top-level managers. His proximity to budget decisions serves as a similar kind of power base for influencing lower-level managers in the city. His ability to work with various administrators will be useful to him in coping with integration problems within the city organization.

An assistant to the project manager with technical project management experience will be designated. This man is young, new to the city, and understands that through the project he can familiarize himself with city operations before choosing a more permanent career path. He will assist in developing plans and analyzing status of the project.

The project manager will work closely with key city people helping them develop their own plans for their part of the project, increasing the likelihood of their commitment to specific time and performance goals. Work packages of about one week in size will be designed and allocated. Individual plans will be organized into an overall plan, which will include a work breakdown structure, assigned responsibilities, and milestone schedules. This plan will become the baseline against which program progress will be measured. Status reports that update schedules and give visibility to good performance will be issued monthly. While eight different city departments will contribute to the project, four of the eight have substantially more involvement than the others and each is responsible for activities on the critical path.

Consequently, in Budget, Sanitation, Buildings and Grounds, and Housing, project coordinators will be designated. The physical work of closing up incinerators and removing trash by some other means is not demanding but the administrative process of increasing the size of the sanitation force, negotiating with unions, arranging funding, and dealing with tenant organizations is demanding. The departmental coordinators will expedite and coordinate within and between these departments. The budget coordinator will work with state and federal funding agencies. The housing coordinator will develop plans for educating tenants and staying in touch with their views.

All coordinators will participate in developing the final plan for the project and will meet regularly every two weeks to review project status, revise plans, and solve coordination problems not solvable in a routine fashion between meetings. Project coordinators will personally obtain status information every week within their departments. The project manager and his assistant will obtain status information personally every week from the four other departments.

The exercise of adding more and more layers to this management system could go on for some time; each element, however, will be selected, with the others in mind, to meet strategic goals. But always bear in mind that ultimately the system could simply become bogged down in bureaucracy.

Success Criteria for Our Air Pollution Abatement Program  Success Criteria for Our Air Pollution Abatement Program

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