CategoriesCasesProject Team

Case: Consult AS

Lars Bugge has been employed in the consultancy firm Consult AS for about 4 years. Over these four years, he has followed the internal career ladder, from being a trainee, through the team leader role, to now being appointed as a project manager. Lars had actually enjoyed his role as a team leader very much, but the management at Consult AS had on several occasions mentioned that they saw great career opportunities for him in the company.

The project he now has is an assignment for a very demanding customer who requires top quality, no cost overruns, and short deadlines. This is the first project Lars has total responsibility for, and he wants to prove himself worthy of this trust. This was the opportunity he had been waiting for, and he has no intention of spoiling it. He knows that the demands and expectations for the project are very high, but not at all impossible. Lars has already decided that this will be the most successful project in the company’s history.

Discuss what you believe are the greatest challenges Lars faces when he leads the project.

As Lars takes on the leadership of the project and meets the high demands and expectations of the customer and management, he faces several challenges. Here are some of the biggest challenges Lars might encounter:

Demanding customer: Lars is facing a very demanding customer who expects top quality, no cost overruns, and short deadlines. He needs to manage the customer’s expectations, handle any change requests, and ensure that the results live up to the customer’s requirements and standards.

Time and resource management: With tight deadlines, Lars must carefully plan and manage the project’s activities, resources, and milestones to ensure that the project is delivered within the timeframe. He needs to ensure that resources are sufficient and effectively utilized to meet the project’s requirements.

Complexity and risk management: The project may be complex, and Lars needs to handle various risk factors and uncertainties that could affect the project’s success. He needs to identify and assess risks, implement relevant measures to manage them, and have a plan B ready to deal with unforeseen events.

Team leadership and motivation: As project manager, it’s Lars’ responsibility to lead and motivate the project team to achieve the project objectives. He needs to build strong team relationships, delegate tasks, communicate clearly, and support team members in their individual roles and responsibilities. Maintaining high motivation and engagement among the team throughout the project can be a challenge.

Quality control and delivery management: Lars needs to ensure that the project meets quality standards and delivers the expected results. He needs to implement effective quality control processes, follow up with suppliers, and ensure that any deviations are identified and handled in a timely manner.

Communication and stakeholder management: Lars needs to maintain effective communication with all project stakeholders, including the customer, management, team members, and other relevant parties. He needs to ensure that there is open and clear communication, manage expectations, and resolve any conflicts or disagreements that arise.

To handle these challenges effectively, Lars should focus on thorough planning, good communication, continuous monitoring and adaptation of the project’s progress, as well as having a flexible and problem-solving approach to unforeseen situations that may arise.

Discuss what Lars can do to select highly motivated employees for the project team.

To select highly motivated employees for the project team, Lars could implement the following measures:

Define clear criteria: Lars should identify and define clear criteria for what he is looking for in employees. This could include skills, experience, motivation, commitment and compatibility with the project’s needs and culture.

Thorough recruitment process: Lars should conduct a thorough recruitment process to attract the right candidates. This could involve creating a good job description, advertising, application screening, interviews and reference checks. He could also consider using assessment tools or tests that can provide further insight into candidates’ motivation and traits.

Emphasize motivation: During the recruitment process, Lars should place special emphasis on candidates’ motivation. He can explore what drives them, their career goals, previous projects they have been involved in, and their attitude towards challenges and achievement. This can provide him with a deeper insight into their inner drive and commitment.

Reference checks: Lars can contact previous employers or references to gain a better understanding of candidates’ motivation and work ethic. He can ask about their contributions in previous projects, their commitment, and how they handle challenges and tight deadlines.

Interviews and case tasks: By conducting thorough interviews and case tasks, Lars can better assess candidates’ motivation and work capacity. He can ask about previous projects, challenges they have faced and how they have handled them. Case tasks can provide a practical opportunity to see candidates’ creativity, problem-solving skills and commitment.

Team fit: Lars should also consider how potential employees fit into the existing team. He can assess their teamwork skills, ability to adapt to changes and their ability to support and motivate other team members.

Development and reward measures: Once the team is assembled, Lars can implement measures to maintain and enhance motivation. This can include clear goals and expectations, opportunities for professional development and training, recognition of effort and results, as well as fostering a positive working environment and good communication.

By taking these factors into account and conducting thorough assessments and measures, Lars can increase the chances of selecting motivated employees for the project team and contribute to a more successful implementation of the project.

One of the most important roles of Lars as a project manager is the personnel manager role, which among other things is about motivating the employees. Discuss what you think Lars should do to ensure high motivation among the employees.

To ensure high motivation among the employees in the project team, Lars should carry out the following measures:

Communicate clear and meaningful goals: Lars should clearly communicate the project’s goals and the significance of the work being performed. He can communicate the project’s vision, the importance of the project’s success and how it contributes to the organization’s overall goals. This helps employees to see the connection between their efforts and the project’s results.

Delegate responsibility and provide autonomy: Lars should trust the employees and give them autonomy to take responsibility for parts of the project. This means giving them the opportunity to make their own decisions, influence the course of the project and contribute their expertise. This shows that Lars values their contributions and gives them a sense of ownership of the project.

Encourage learning and development: Lars should facilitate learning and development among the employees. This could be through training, workshops or opportunities for professional development. He can encourage knowledge sharing and give employees the opportunity to develop both personally and professionally. This helps maintain motivation and engagement over time.

Give recognition and rewards: Lars should acknowledge and reward the employees for their efforts and results. This could be through public recognition, reward systems, bonuses or other forms of incentives. By valuing and rewarding the employees’ contributions, Lars increases the chances of maintaining high motivation and engagement.

Create a positive work environment: Lars should facilitate a positive and supportive work environment. This could be through promoting cooperation, encouraging open communication, supporting employee well-being and handling conflicts effectively. A good work environment creates satisfaction, engagement and high motivation among the employees.

Provide continuous feedback: Lars should give regular and constructive feedback to the employees. This can be both positive feedback to acknowledge their efforts and achievements and constructive criticism to contribute to their development. By providing clear and relevant feedback, Lars helps employees improve and maintain motivation.

By implementing these measures, Lars can help ensure high motivation among the employees in the project team and thereby increase the likelihood of the project’s success.

This case is taken from the book “Prosjektledelse – fra initiering til gevinstrealisering” – 2016, 4. Edition, by Jan Terje Karlsen.

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