Functional managers in a project: how to involve them and why

Functional Managers do not always get taken into account in the realization of a project. These managers are generally seen as an additional cost rather than an investment. However, this is not the case!

In many organizations, teams are made up of so many members from so many different departments that it is often impossible for a single project manager to take care and “know” everything.

Actually, however, many companies are pleased to have just one project manager who coordinates the entire team and initiates a series of projects destined, for this reason, to fail right from the start.

It is evident that the number of roles required to achieve specific objectives depends on the size of the organization and the size of the project, but you should stop expecting the project manager to be the only person who can handle the management of large project teams.

The project manager, no matter how good and experienced they are, there are situations in which they cannot manage everything on their own. This is where functional managers come into play.

Even if the initial cost due to the introduction of functional managers will be higher (you will have to pay one or more people at managerial level), the company’s managers must consider the management benefits that will result from this investment.

Anyway, what is a functional manager?

functional manager is an individual who holds the management authority of an organizational unit, such as a department, within a company, company, or organization, and whose role serves to successfully complete processes.

The functional manager can be, for example, the head of Marketing or Logistics, Technical Department, or Administration.

The critical role of the functional manager is:

  • To review and approve the project plan for the specific area it addresses.
  • To offer people the opportunity to be members of the project team.
  • To provide guidance, as and when requested, to the team members of the department concerned.
  • To revise the project schedule if necessary.
  • To remove obstacles for the project team.
  • To provide team members with the time required to complete the project successfully, as defined in the approved project plan.
  • To ensure that the people in the department working on the project have an adequate level of skills and know-how to perform the work.

The role of the functional manager is, therefore, essential to execute complex projects flawlessly.

The substantial contribution of functional managers is also to try to show their team members how to solve problems by providing the appropriate methods and tools.

functional manager

What are the responsibilities of a functional manager?

  • Communicate any changes in the availability of their resources to the project/program manager.
  • Keep track of the status of the project/program and understand the impacts on their resources and areas of responsibility.
  • Help the project/program manager to deliver leadership and get the buy-in.
  • Evaluate the overall effectiveness and quality of the results.
  • Ensure the improved performance of their function and effective cross-functional integration.
  • Be involved in the project/program decision-making process relevant to the impact on the tasks for which it is responsible.
  • Communicate with the project/program manager any changes to the project that affect the quality or scope of the end result.
  • Ensure that the specific requirements of your sector for the output to be produced are communicated and understood.
  • Take part in the risk analysis of the project and problem management, whenever required.
  • Ensure that the time of their resources is not excessively unbalanced between the work needed for the project and any other “routine” activities.
  • Decide which resources to allocate to the project, ensuring that the funds allotted possess the suitable skills required for the project or have the ability to acquire such skills.
  • Understand the work required of its resources for the project and any new skills they may learn as a result of the project work.
  • Ensuring that funds are available for the project as initially promised and agreed upon.
  • Manage any resource performance issues that the project/program manager may encounter and report.

Integration between functional manager and project manager

In an organization, often initial resistance to the idea of having more than one manager (especially for budget reasons) arises.

However, the advantages of having functional managers who can actually spend time with the team pay off.

Good integration between functional manager and project manager can only produce benefits from all perspectives, both for the project and for the organization in general.

What is essential is that the team has clear in mind, which are the roles of one and the other and that the communication is transparent and unambiguous.

In fact, the functional manager is able to recognize whether a specific activity related to his department and experience, can provide (or not) added value to the project. This is why the functional manager has the ability to help the project manager recognize when the project team is wasting time and resources.

In general, therefore, the presence of functional managers and project managers will not only improve the performance of the project team but also enhance the morale and commitment of each individual team member.

The project manager will recognize the specific skills of the functional manager, while the functional manager will acknowledge the skills and coordination skills of the project manager.

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Problems with the team – identifying and neutralizing a toxic (negative/damaging) member

Problems with the Team can be a daily occurrence for a Project Manager. Finding and retaining valuable employees is critical, but identifying and dealing with so-called “toxic” employees is vital to the team’s compactness.

We all know that there are characters you can’t stand. We met at school, at university, or work.

If hired, employees are expected to bring value to an organization, but what toxic employees (i.e., employees with personalities that are not tolerated by the remaining team members) bring is just annoyance and problems that quickly affect the success of the project and the organization.

Human resources and top managers should be able to detect toxic behavior and take immediate action to prevent chaos. If not neutralized in time, these elements could even lead to the destruction of the corporate culture.

The different kinds of toxic members

Here are some signs of a toxic employee within the team and some suggestions on how to handle the situation.

Toxic members: The gossiper

It is undoubtedly a good sign if employees develop friendly relationships and get along well with each other.

An open communication culture should be encouraged; however, office gossip can lead to a significant reduction in productivity if it exceeds the limit.

Gossips are everywhere: chatting by the coffee machine, walking around during lunchtime, always trying to find exciting office “stories.”

This type of employee becomes toxic when they become hyper-focused on collecting funny stories and gossip rather than working.

In addition, excessive gossip and unfounded rumors can create drama among employees.

To avoid this, you need to make sure that employees have enough time to interact with each other during lunch or social events after work.

This way, they should remain more focused on work during regular office hours.

If however, this behavior persists, you will have to talk to those directly concerned and, in the most severe cases, act accordingly.

Toxic members: The one who always says yes

This is a rather tricky case to identify. As such, an employee does not seem to cause many problems, on the contrary.

However, you might notice that an individual team member always agrees at the end of every discussion and meeting, without ever bringing anything new.

If an employee behaves like this and never asks questions, this may be an indicator that they are not willing to learn.

These people make the least effort to do precisely what is expected of them and nothing more. They will wait for detailed instructions without any initiative.

In these cases, you need to talk to them to find out the reasons for their lack of motivation.

Toxic members: The procrastinator

In a world where employees use the internet daily for their work or even have to stay in touch with customers and suppliers on social media, from time to time, there may be distracted a bit.

However, when these distractions stop being quick and innocent, problems arise.

If the employee begins to miss deadlines or perform poor quality work, action must be taken.

Stricter deadlines and more demanding tasks can be the solution and, not to forget, positive words if a project is successfully completed.

Getting recognition on a regular basis ensures that employees are more committed to their work and perform better.

Toxic members: The apology maker

This kind of employee is similar to the procrastinator, as they both try to stay away from work, but the apology maker is definitely more creative as he always seeks justification for his delay.

Other “symptoms” include high absenteeism, low energy, and lack of motivation.

You can identify these employees with unscheduled visits, requesting regular reports, and making them personally responsible for specific tasks.
the toxic member

Toxic members: The narcissist

A narcissistic employee is usually an excellent interpreter but does not seem to recognize the value of a strong team.

This person prefers to work independently and may even go so far as to underestimate the work of colleagues.

The organization, however, needs the collaboration of the team to achieve challenging goals.

For this, you need to promote your team’s successes and support group projects, recognize the team’s efforts to demonstrate that each member’s input is essential.

Toxic members: The grumpy

It is quite ordinary to have a colleague grumbling on Monday morning, but when this becomes a habit, it is probably a toxic person.

These are the employees who are always complaining about everything – whether there is a real reason or not: from a broken coffee machine to a low-speed Internet connection; these people don’t seem to be satisfied with anything and, as a result, create negativity in the team.

In such cases, it is a good idea to compare people and ask what is causing their dissatisfaction. Is there anything that can be done to improve the work area, which would actually be beneficial for everyone?

Listening to reasonable complaints can lead to progress, but complaining just for the sake of it is something that cannot be accepted for too long.

Toxic members: The “I-know-it-all”

In our lives, we have all come across a person who believes they know everything, both personally and professionally.

These people usually have an answer for everything and will not accept or listen to another point of view.

Employees who show this kind of behavior are toxic because they don’t want to receive feedback.

So how will they perform better if they refuse to incorporate constructive criticism into their work?

In this case, training sessions for this type of employee can be envisaged in order to broaden their knowledge.


Ultimately, having a toxic employee on the team is more expensive in the long term than having a not fully trained employee.

Toxic behavior affects the whole team and prevents them from working efficiently.

Yet firing toxic employees is not always the best approach; in most cases, it is possible to eliminate toxic behavior and retain the worker.

People are not always aware of their behavior.

In general, once a toxic employee has been identified, the first solution is always to have a personal discussion with them and try to understand the reasons for this negative behavior and act accordingly.

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Become an agile coach to lead companies to success

The role of Agile Coach was born in the IT (Information Technology) sector. Still, now it is very sought after in other industries because organizations see the advantages of agile work.

So if you are in the field of program/project management and you are looking for a new and exciting role, becoming an Agile Coach is a great opportunity to bring your career to the next level.

All large organizations now require projects to be delivered faster and more effectively than in the past, as they meet market and consumer changes.

Employing an Agile Coach for a project helps everyone to focus on the main objectives, test, learn and quickly achieve output rather than following the traditional Waterfall style (link to the Waterfall article) of the project management.

Goals of an Agile Coach

As an Agile Coach, you can create your Work Team and motivate the team to achieve high performance imparting Agile methodologies through open communication and group collaboration.

The Agile Coach ensures that the team works as effectively as possible and has a different role from that of the project manager, whose task is to ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of their position.

An Agile Coach must possess a combination of project management experience and leadership skills, as well as being skilled communicators, facilitators, and good at identifying different solutions to problems through the understanding of organizational development.

In short, the main objective of any Agile Coach is to monitor the activities of a team and the technologies they are considering.

In addition, they must be able to promote and incorporate Agile practices in order to make teams work faster and more efficiently.

It is essential to understand that the role of an Agile Coach is of a transitory nature and may not be required for the entire project period.

Auto-coaching is, therefore, one of the most important lessons to teach a team. This will ensure that the team can work with its own strengths and comfortably perform crucial tasks without relying too much on the coach.

What are the responsibilities of an Agile Coach?

Here are the responsibilities required for an Agile Coach:

  • Practical expert: a coach has to be more practical at the outset when individuals are not sure where and how to start with the new agile methodology. A functional expert will directly lead and implement the Agile methods and instruct teams and organizations accordingly.
  • Coach: an Agile coach is just like a coach. Everyone can solve their problems and adopt a new methodology with the help of a guide to understand how. A good coach gives people the tools they need to grow on their own.
  • Teacher: if the person or group lacks information, the agile coach fills these gaps and imparts new knowledge.
  • Technical consultant: an agile coach must be familiar with the sector in which the organization fits in so as to help the team, in case of a technical block, to overcome the obstacle by following the new methodology.
  • Counsellor: active listening is crucial to any Agile Coach. A coach in this role creates a safe environment where, for example, tensions related to the adoption of Agile practices can emerge in a free and honest discussion.
  • Facilitator: instead of giving defined answers and solutions, an agile coach helps team members discover them for themselves. The role of the facilitator also helps in conflict resolution and improving group dynamics.
  • Observer: this skill of the agile coach can provide valuable external perspectives that team members may not have recognized before, guiding them to new knowledge and revelations.

become agile coach

What does an Agile Coach do?

The work of an Agile Coach can be divided into five areas:

1. Catalyzing improvement

Adopting the Agile methodology means changing an organization’s processes and responding better to future changes. An Agile Coach must initiate this first and most significant change and help all staff to accept it.

2. Promoting awareness

To start change, an Agile Coach must educate the team about the need for change and create buy-ins within the organization. Open questions, charts, data, and metrics can help identify problems and gaps and ensure that the whole team is aligned.

3. Increase involvement

If an Agile Coach successfully promotes awareness, this can lead people towards greater participation in the organization and their role. Knowledge increases responsibility and commitment to finding a solution and helps staff to be part of and want change.

4. Developing skills

One of the critical activities of an Agile Coach is imparting knowledge. The creation of a collaborative learning environment and the promotion of emerging learning cultures are the keys to maintaining an Agile approach long after the end of the partnership with the coach.

5. Removing barriers

As a company turns into an Agile organization, the process can face many hindrances and challenges. The responsibility of an Agile Coach is, therefore, to remove obstacles and facilitate change so that an organization can continue to grow and collaborate smoothly.

What skills should an Agile Coach possess?

An Agile coach needs a wide range of skills and expertise to assist teams and organizations in change successfully. Among them, we find:

  • Mentoring, teaching, and training skills.
  • Communication skills.
  • Ability to influence: Agile coaches can face resistance, so they must be able to use their influence to show the power of the Agile methodology.
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Devotion
  • Technical mastery
  • Corporate expertise
  • Strategic and organizational skills.


An Agile Coach helps teams and people to adopt Agile practices and methods in their work, making it more efficient, transparent, and cohesive and allowing the achievement of better results, solutions, and products or services.

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The project stakeholder register

What is the project stakeholder register, and what is it used for? We will see it in this article.

What is certainly undeniable is that no project can be successful if the stakeholders are not happy. Stakeholder satisfaction is essential for the successful completion of the project.

According to the PMBOK Guide, “An interested party may be a person, group, or organization that may be interested or have some interest in the project or the results of the project, directly or indirectly. ”

The stakeholders are all the parties involved in the project. Therefore, to manage project stakeholders, it is essential to have a register for this purpose.

What is a project stakeholder register?

project stakeholder register is a project-related document that includes all the information about the project’s stakeholders.

This document identifies the people, groups, and organizations that have an interest in the work, the project, and its results.

The following information can be found in a stakeholder register:

  • Names
  • Titles
  • Roles
  • Interests
  • Requirements
  • Expectations
  • Type of influence

It is essential to create the stakeholder register when the sponsor signs the project paper, and, at this stage, stakeholders are identified and analyzed and, consequently, a strategy can be created to manage them.

This document will help the project manager to complete the project smoothly.

The content of the project stakeholder register

You can categorize the information in the stakeholder register into three areas:

  • Stakeholder identification
  • Stakeholder evaluation
  • Stakeholder classification

If a stakeholder management strategy is then included, this will be the fourth category.

In a large organization, the stakeholder management strategy can be a separate document.

However, in a smaller organization, this information can be included directly in the stakeholder register.
the stakeholder register

Stakeholder identification

Generally speaking, the project’s stakeholders fall into three categories:

1. Organizational Stakeholders

These are the stakeholders within the organization and usually include senior management, technical management, and line managers, who are generally focused on a successful project and a successful product on the market. This type of stakeholder also includes the project team itself, which is interested in job security, fair wages, and career advancement.

2. Product and market-based stakeholders

This category contains stakeholders who have an “interest” in the product, though not in the organization. This category includes customers interested in purchasing a product that improves their lives at a fair price and also contains suppliers who provide tools, equipment, and services to carry out the project successfully. This category also contains governments that have a regulatory interest in the product and want to protect the public from the negative consequences of using the product. And finally, the general public is also included here, even if they are not stakeholders until they experience the outcome of the project.

3. Financing-based Stakeholders

The third group of stakeholders in the financial person or organization that supports the project. Investors, creditors, and banks that have financed the project are interested in achieving a return on investment within a reasonable time frame.


Each of these stakeholders should, therefore, be recorded, complete with contact details, job descriptions, position in the organizational structure, level of authority, and role in the project.

In short, effective stakeholder management requires the project manager to know who has the ability to influence the project so that quick decisions can be made in case of problems.

Stakeholder evaluation

In most cases, stakeholders have a definite “interest” in the project, e.g., a regulatory agency requiring an environmental assessment before issuing permits.

However, this is not always so immediate; often, stakeholders have minor requirements that only arise when they are not met.

Each stakeholder should be evaluated on what their requirements are.

In addition, each stakeholder has expectations about how the project will proceed, and its actions are governed by those expectations that may not be visible until they are met.

Furthermore, stakeholders have various levels of influence: from providing simple feedback to the complete shutdown of a project.

Each stakeholder has a different power over the project, and the project manager should assess where each stakeholder’s continuum is located.

Obviously, stakeholders who can shut down the project need to get proportionately more attention from the project manager.

Stakeholders also enter the project at different stages of the project life cycle. This is why the project stakeholder register must be updated regularly.

In short, in this part of the stakeholder register, stakeholders will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Their requirements
  • Their communication needs
  • Their expectations
  • Their influence on the project
  • Their interest and power

This part, if duly filled in, will help the project manager to complete the project with a minimal setback.

Stakeholder classification

Stakeholders can be classified in different ways.

One of these is internal or external stakeholders, which can be used to determine contractual and procurement requirements.

Internal stakeholders are stakeholders that are within the leading organization, for example, the project team, technical managers, or managers.

External stakeholders are outside the parent organization, e.g., suppliers and regulatory agencies.

Another method of classifying stakeholders is called impact/influence and is used to determine the potential negative impacts of the project. In this classification:

  • The effect is the extent of the possible interruption of the project.
  • Influence is the ability to motivate others to stop the project.
  • Those with leverage must be kept satisfied.
  • Those with impact must be kept informed.
  • Those that have both impact and influence need to be managed very carefully.

Another classification is as follows and is an excellent way to distinguish between the types of communication required by each stakeholder.

In this classification model, each stakeholder is classified into one of the following four types of classification:

  • “Upward” is related to the core organization: executives, investors, and sponsors of the project. These stakeholders hold commercial and financial interests in the project.
  • “Downward” are the stakeholders below the project hierarchy: suppliers, contractors, service providers, and so on. The project team itself also counts as a descendant.
  • “Outwardly” are stakeholders who have an “interest” in the project, such as government regulators, adjacent landowners, end-users, customers, and even the general public.
  • “Laterally” are stakeholders who are in competition with the project due to scarce resources, such as other project managers and organizational departments.

Stakeholder analysis and management strategy

After completing the stakeholder classification, the stakeholder management strategy is developed.

This will help the project manager to manage them according to their needs, influence, and interest in the project.

A more influential stakeholder will require a different strategy than another stakeholder with a lower level of influence.

The stakeholder register may contain confidential information, and not everyone may be allowed access to this document. Therefore, it is crucial to keep this document in a safe place.

However, many organizations do not restrict access to the stakeholder register, in which case a separate stakeholder strategy document can be created and kept in a safe place.

As the project progresses, new stakeholders will be identified, and their attributes may also change.

This is why it is crucial to keep the register up-to-date throughout the life cycle of the project.

Stakeholder management, therefore, plays a vital role in the success of a project.

Inadequate management of project stakeholders, especially those with high power and interest, can even lead to project failure.

Therefore, project teams and the project manager must perform timely and accurate stakeholder analysis, ranking, and prioritization, considering the ability of stakeholders to influence the project.

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Stress management and Project Management: how to manage stress in crucial moments of the project

The job of a Project Manager is undoubtedly one of the most stressful, as this position is directly responsible for the success or failure of a project.

Some project managers believe they can handle and deal with the high level of stress, making mistakes, and some even ignore or refuse to recognize that they are stressed.

The stress experience for a Project Manager not only impacts cognitive and behavioural performance, but can also have a negative impact on personal health, well-being and family life.

It is difficult to be able to change the amount of stress one can experience on a daily basis, but it is possible to change the way one deals with it.

It is important to be able to manage stress before it becomes increasingly difficult to cope with.

Sources of stress in project management

Just imagine: The project’s due date is in 2 weeks and there are still some critical issues to be resolved. To make matters worse, one of the key members of your team has been hospitalized. The client is not satisfied and the management requests a daily review. And this is just a tiny example of the many scenarios that a project manager can experience every day.

The sources of stress in project management can be many and different.

Here are some of the most common sources:

  • Unrealistic chronology and schedules
  • Working in a system and organizational structure where project management does not exert full control over resources
  • Lack of resources – human and/or instrumental
  • Proliferation of virtual teams and intercultural influences that are difficult to manage
  • Dispute between groups in the organization
  • Project environment

A project manager’s first step must be to recognize that he is under stress and then develop self-discipline before learning and practicing what are the techniques for dealing with stress.

Learning to successfully manage stress begins with a willingness to take an honest look within ourselves.

Techniques for managing stress in project management

Many techniques can help to manage stress. No technique is unique to everyone and no technique will be able to completely eliminate stress. Each person has to decide what will work best for himself or herself.

This suggests that techniques should be explored to determine what works best for us and, once you find some strategies that work, the commitment to practice them is the key to dealing with stress.

Having understood this concept let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used techniques to lower stress levels.

Stress management techniques: Detachment or disassociation

Let’s look at the example of a meeting where the project manager is extremely frustrated and considers it all as wasted time.

In this case you can use detachment or dissociation, mentally “controlling” the meeting, letting your mind wander towards a more enjoyable image.

It’s a technique that may seem nonsensical, but manages, instead, to relieve stress effectively.

stress and the pm

Stress management techniques: Monitoring the “what if” thinking

During a stressful event or meeting, it is natural to end up in the “what if thinking”, where one wonders “What if we had done this in the past, could we not be struggling right now?”

As is evident, this form of thinking implies a focus that is not geared towards the present.

An alternative to this form of thinking is to focus on the present by asking yourself this question, for example: “It’s Thursday, it’s 3:17 p.m., I just received bad news about the project. What can I do in the next hour to take a small step towards improving the situation?”

Basically, don’t focus on how we got there, but on what to do to get out of it, even with the smallest of steps.

Stress management techniques: Developing strong conflict resolution skills

Additional stress is added to working life when reacting to a stressful situation by avoiding or denying it. The same is true when you overreact to a stressful situation.

Both approaches increase the level of stress.

For this reason, it is important to develop the ability to resolve conflicts, possibly by following a special training course.

Stress management techniques: Knowing when it’s enough

Knowing when enough is enough and staying away from debates is a powerful solution to some situations of high stress.

A natural but often unproductive approach to solving a situation is to discuss with another person the sense and reason for one’s point of view. These situations are strong sources of stress.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t assert your beliefs, but you should know when to stop.

If you continue to want to try to be perceived as “right”, you are just increasing the level of stress and you are wasting useful energy.

Stress management techniques: Look for a paradoxical component of the situation

In the midst of a situation that is rightfully stressful, you may find that you’re taking yourself, or the situation, too seriously.

Behavioural psychologists would say that we are engaging in a “catastrophic” behavior, in which we take a singular and negative event, and we find ourselves believing, for example, that the entire project is condemned because of this serious problem.

An antidote to this way of doing and thinking is to find a paradoxical cognition to cling to, something that will put stress and worries into perspective.

Other useful techniques for stress management

  • Priority: create a hierarchy of priorities and assign each activity according to its urgency and importance. Focusing primarily on urgent and important tasks and not overwhelming yourself by worrying about the whole workload.
  • Avoid extreme reactions: why hate when it comes to a little distaste? Why generate anxiety when you can be “just” nervous? Why be depressed when you can simply be “just” sad?
  • NLP implementation – Neuro-Linguistic Programming – for reducing stress: NLP provides a variety of excellent tools and concepts to enable individuals to deal with or change negative stress into positive resources. With NLP you can change overwhelming and immobilizing feelings into powerful motivating drives.
  • Physical exercise: take a break and plan some physical activities, whether it’s jogging, cycling, hiking or other outdoor activities to relieve stress.
  • Meditation: Meditation and breathing exercises have proven to be very effective in controlling stress.

Stress Management: conclusion

Finally, we can say that there are various ways for a Project Manager to reduce stress. Each of these ways can bring benefits and everyone needs to test them to understand which ones are best suited to them.

It is obvious that success in stress management does not only depend on the type of technique used, but it is also the commitment of the person applying the techniques that makes the difference.

The same strategy may not work for everyone.

You have to take an honest look at yourself and determine what is most practical and what makes most sense for you.

Engaging and striving seriously to reduce stress can improve your happiness and health. That’s why it’s worth trying.

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Shareholder vs. Stakeholder: in what they are different and why it is important to not confuse them

In a company there are shareholders and stakeholders. Both have invested something, however, they are separate entities.

Although they have similar names, their investment and role in an organization is fairly different and it is critical to not confuse them.

Shareholders are always also stakeholders in a company, although stakeholders are not always necessarily shareholders.

A shareholder owns a share in a public company, while a stakeholder shares an interest in the performance of an organization for reasons beyond the performance or value of the shares.

This means that both parties share a common interest: the organization must be successful in the long term.

The shareholder is an individual who has invested money in the organization by purchasing shares in the company itself. The reach of the stakeholder is wider. Stakeholders represent, in a nutshell, the entire micro-environment of the company and not just the shareholders.

While the shareholder owns a share of the organization and thus pays the price for it, and is therefore partly owner of the company, the stakeholders are not the owners of the company, rather they are the parties who take care of the company.

We take a look at all the key and specific differences between stakeholders and shareholders in this article.

Definition of shareholder

All companies raise their own capital from the market by issuing shares to the public.

The shareholder is therefore the person who buys these shares of the company from the primary or secondary market, thereby obtaining part of the legal ownership in the capital of the company.

A share certificate is issued to each individual shareholder for the number of shares he holds.

The simple subscription of shares does not constitute ownership of the shares. One only becomes the owner when the shares are actually allotted.

A shareholder is therefore any party – a physical person, a company or an institution – that owns at least one share in an organization. So, the shareholder owns a financial interest in its profitability.

If the company’s share price increases, the value for shareholders also increases, while if the company has a poor return and the price of its shares decreases, the value for shareholders decreases. It is clear that this trend is not trivial for a shareholder.

Definition of stakeholder

Stakeholders are the parties involved in helping the organization to exist. Without the stakeholders, the organization cannot survive for long.

According to the traditional governance model, the management of the company is only accountable to shareholders. Nowadays, this scenario has completely changed and is no longer believable.

Many organizations, in fact, believe that, in addition to shareholders, there are many other components in the corporate environment and that management is also their responsibility.

A stakeholder is a party that has an interest in the success of the company and can affect or be affected by the policies and objectives of the organization.

Stakeholders can be internal or external. Internal stakeholders have a direct relationship with the company through employment, ownership or investment. Internal stakeholder examples may include employees, shareholders and management.

External stakeholders, on the other hand, are individuals who do not have a direct relationship with the organization but can still be influenced by the actions and manoeuvres of that company. Examples of external stakeholders include suppliers, creditors, communities and public groups.
shareholder vs stakeholder

Key differences between stakeholders and shareholders

Below are the differences between stakeholders and shareholders in detail:

  • Shareholders own the company because they have purchased financial shares issued by the company. On the contrary, stakeholders are those who influence or are influenced by the company’s policies and objectives.
  • Shareholders are part of the stakeholders. It can also be said that shareholders are stakeholders, but stakeholders are not necessarily shareholders of the company.
  • Shareholders focus on the return on their investment in the company. On the other hand, stakeholders focus on the performance, profitability and liquidity of the company.
  • The scope of stakeholders is relatively broader compared to that of shareholders because there are other elements in addition to shareholders.
  • We can only find shareholders in the case of public limited companies. However, every company or organization has its own stakeholders, whether it is a government agency, a non-profit organization, a partnership or a sole proprietorship.


It is thus clear that stakeholders and shareholders are terms that refer to different roles.

Stakeholder and shareholder have different points of view depending on their interest in the company.

Shareholders expect the company’s management to carry out activities that have a positive effect on the prices and performance of the shares and on the value of their dividends to shareholders. Furthermore, they would like the company to focus on expansion, i.e. acquisitions, mergers and other activities that could increase the company’s profitability and overall financial health.

On the other hand, stakeholders focus on the longevity of the organization and better quality of service. For instance, an organization’s employees may be interested in better wages and salaries, rather than higher profitability. Suppliers may be interested in timely payments for goods delivered to the company, as well as better rates for their products and services. Customers would be interested in receiving better customer service and purchasing high quality products.

Many organizations have therefore begun to accept the fact that, in addition to shareholders, the company is also responsible for many other components of its business environment.

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Collaboration with the team: The advantages for the PM

Collaboration during a project is a method by which teams and project managers plan, coordinate, and monitor the project on which they are working.

In practice, the entire success of managing a project is based on group collaboration.

Collaboration means two or more people working together to achieve a goal. Generally, this ends with the creation of a product or service, but this collaboration process can also go beyond the departmental and even company boundaries.

With the increasing preponderance of remote work teams and the movement of data on cloud servers, the collaboration, which is always the basis of team work, it has become even more a watchword in project management.

The importance of collaboration

As mentioned above, the collaboration refers to two or more people working together to solve a problem and / or achieve a certain goal.

This may seem like a concept equivalent to that of “team work“, but there are actually considerable differences between the two.

Typically, a team is a group of people with similar skills who regularly work together with a person who makes key decisions, while in collaboration they bring together people with different skills and experiences to solve a problem or work towards a certain goal.

All the subjects involved are therefore united for a common goal and the authority is shared.

Collaboration takes place in teams, however, simply putting together a team does not mean that everyone will collaborate effectively.

The increasingly frantic global economy drives organizations to do more with less and respond quickly to customer requests.

Organizations need cross-functional teams to innovate and improve processes in order to remain agile.

These needs are met, in part, by the huge availability of collaboration tools in the market. Thanks to project management software such as TWproject,  for example, teams can chat, share, and co-edit documents, assign jobs, create reports, automate tasks using flows work at any time, from anywhere.

Collaboration is part of the digital revolution and these new tools simplify it.

Collaboration and Project Management

When applied to project management, collaboration involves bringing together a team of different departments, offices, organizations, and even countries to complete a project.

Each team member has only a part of the information and skills necessary to perform the work for a project. They must rely on the collective experiences, skills, and knowledge within the team to fill the gaps.

Completing a project requires different skills and experiences, provided by a cross-functional team that in general does not work together every day.

Collaboration is also important for new project managers and inexperienced team members.

These people rely on the skills and experience of the team to contribute successfully to the project.

The emphasis on the collaboration of the project team reflects the structure of many companies that are becoming less and less hierarchical and that see a greater interaction between departments.

If collaboration is the essence of modern project management, ineffective collaboration or lack of collaboration can undermine the project.
collaborating with the team

What are the advantages of collaboration for the PM?

Collaboration allows, in short, to be better than the sum of the individual parts.

Here are some of the advantages of a good collaboration for the project manager:

  • Increased productivity: Distributing activities to team members who have the time and skills to complete them, rather than overloading a team member with too much work and neglecting others.
  • Better problem resolution: Giving team members the autonomy to work together to solve problems offers more ways to success, as well as building team loyalty and morale.
  • Better communication: Communication lines need constant care or a wrong direction can deviate a project. Collaboration facilitates clear communication and provides a solution to communicate effectively also in case of remote teams.
  • Reduction of general expenses: One of the biggest costs of any organization is the rent or purchase of a physical space in which everyone can work. However, with collaboration, team members do not need to be in the same place.
  • Promotion of human resources: By promoting collaboration among team members, not only it is possible to build strong relationships, but also to create loyalty that helps retain employees.

How to improve collaboration in a project team

The advantages of collaboration in project management are therefore clear, but implementing them can be difficult, especially when managing remote teams.

Here are some tips to increase collaboration within an organization:

  • Communication: Every good project manager knows that good communication is the foundation of everything, especially to establish a collaborative environment. Not only is it necessary for the project manager to communicate correctly and frequently, but also to convince the team to do so.
  • Orientation and training: In order to learn something new, a training session is always necessary and, at times, also a reference figure to who expose doubts and questions is needed. In the case where, for example, a new project management software is installed, it is necessary to organize a training session for the team in order to start an effective and fruitful collaboration.
  • Change: Old habits are often hard to die, but it is necessary to get the team away from old methods that are no longer effective for the project.
  • Sharing: A healthy and positive collaboration will not be possible unless the virtual walls that separated team members in the past are knocked down.
  • Monitoring: When a project is run and a plan is not set, the project will be destined to fail. The same applies to the implementation of the collaboration. This is why it is necessary to monitor and hold regular meetings with the team in order to answer questions and keep track of their progress.

Bringing people together to work collectively and foster collaboration is no longer a choice, but a necessity for any project-based activity.

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How and why to get feedback from the project team

Getting feedback from the project team is one of the things that seem most obvious for a project manager, but that can be very difficult.

It is a task of the project manager to support and challenge the team, so that together they can achieve the expected results.

To do this effectively, however, the project manager needs to know if he is supporting and challenging the project team in the right way or if, despite his good intentions, he is unwillingly holding it back.

A project manager must know what he does well, so that he can continue to do it, but he must also understand his weaknesses in order to correct them. In short … the project manager needs feedback. How to get it then?

First, if a project manager wants to receive feedback from the project team, he must focus on the actions he can take to receive it.

The tactics that we will illustrate in this article will help the project manager increase the chances of receiving the much desired feedback from his project team.

Exit interviews and feedback

Usually, companies rely on employee exit interviews to get information on a manager’s effectiveness. But what is the use of understanding how an employee feels about his manager when he has already decided to leave the company?

Although it is not too late for the manager to hear this feedback, it is still too late to use it in the proper way.

Quality feedback should help the project manager to work better with his team, improve leadership style, and make sure that he is aware of the problems before they become serious and dangerous for the project. Gathering interviews only when the collaborators leave the organization, although not completely useless, makes little sense.

How to get feedback from the team: Ask specific questions

Have you asked the project team specifically for feedback lately? In fact, there is a big difference between thinking that you want to receive a feedback and asking it directly.

Adopting an “open door policy” is often not sufficient and it is necessary to ask the team directly for feedback.

Moreover, it is not optimal to ask for generic things like “Do you have any feedback for me?”. This is a vague request and it is difficult to know what the person really wants to know without specifying a context.

Instead, it is good practice to ask for a feedback and ask specific questions such as:

  • How could we organize our team meetings in order for them to be more effective?
  • Would you like more or less direction / support from me during your work?
  • What could I do to make your job more enjoyable?
  • Do you think your ideas are considered by the team? And by me as a project manager?

With specific and targeted questions, it is easier to receive an honest feedback.

How to get feedback from the team: Be grateful and accept feedback – especially if negative

Think of the last time you provided someone with a strong and potentially negative feedback. Did the person immediately accept it? Or did he argue and try to say it was not true?

Any person who receives a rather negative feedback may be slightly on the defensive at first, but if the attitude is really extreme, to the point of not accepting feedback, answering badly, and even being offended, you will probably think twice before providing a feedback again.

Same thing applies in the case of the project manager! If he remains defensive towards the feedback team, it is not surprising that in the future the team members will hesitate to provide further feedback.

If a team member is giving a feedback, see it as a gift.

This means that the person cares a lot about sharing his point of view, so that things can improve for both.

It is undeniable that some pills are more difficult to ingest than others, but it does not change the fact that the final intent is to help.

The next time you receive feedback from a team member, try this approach to make sure you continue to receive constructive feedback:

  • Take a break and thank for the feedback before saying anything else.
  • Ask the person to share a recent situation that is linked to the feedback, in order to contextualize it.
  • Ask for clarifications to make sure you understand the essence of the feedback.
  • Discuss possible solutions or changes or, if the behaviour cannot be changed, explain why.

Receiving feedback is not always a pleasant experience. However, with a little practice and an open mind, it is possible to make the project team more peaceful when providing feedback.

This inevitably makes employees more likely to give more feedback in the future.
feedback from team

How to get feedback from the team: Act

When the project manager receives feedback from his team, his work has just begun.

The team has indeed shared feedback with the project manager, because they want to see things change. Otherwise, why would they worry about sharing it?

If a fact is so important that it is worthy of feedback to the project manager, it is something the team wants to see changing. And if this progress is not shown, it will certainly be discouraging for them.

A project manager who does nothing with the feedback he receives is unlikely to get more feedback in the future, or have a long-term committed team.

For this, it is necessary to transform the feedback into action.

When getting feedback, the project manager should take a few minutes to discuss the next steps.

This action gives the team members the feeling of being heard and helps them understand what progress could be made in relation to their feedback.

Each situation will be slightly different, in general there are three possible feedback scenarios:

  • The project manager changes something: his actions will positively confirm the team’s courage to give feedback.
  • The project team changes something: the project manager helps the team create the type of organization they want to work for.
  • The project manager explains why that particular behaviour cannot be changed: when something cannot be changed, it is necessary for the project manager to help the team understand why the situation must remain the way it is and must create empathy.

How to get feedback from the team: Use reciprocity

Are you giving – as a project manager – your feedback to the team? Are you taking actions that you would like to be reproduced by the group as well?

It is important in this case to know the power of reciprocity. Reciprocity lies deep in the psyche of human beings.

A small example: if you give someone a gift or do something for a person, this person will feel indebted to you and will therefore be more inclined to return the favour or do something else requested by you with a similar value.

Reciprocity prevails over feelings.

Even if you don’t have a good relationship with all the team members, reciprocity can still help you get more feedback.

As Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” By changing the concept of “country” with that of “team” in the context of project management, we have the definition of reciprocity.

How to get feedback from the team: Give the example

There is nothing more important than the example that a project manager, as a leader, gives to the team.

In fact, the project team observes daily what the project manager does, and his actions are even more relevant than his words.

If the project manager wants feedback to be a fundamental part of his team’s culture and habits, then he must learn to give the right example to follow.

Here are some ways to do it:

  • Provide feedback and praise to the team: as discussed above, it is important to create a situation of reciprocity.
  • Hold a reflection meeting on the project: when a major problem occurs or a project ends, it is important to take time to meet with the team to talk about what went well or wrong and what to do differently next time. It is a great way to make everyone focused on improvement.
  • Take responsibility for your own mistakes: if the project manager shows that the feedback is appreciated and that this brings a change, the team members are more likely to do the same when it comes to them. If a project manager is open to constructively criticizing himself, this automatically makes the entire team more open.

Receiving constructive feedback may not always be easy, especially when it comes from employees.

However, feedback can provide very useful information about the expectations of team members, about things that need to be improved in the workplace, and how employees perceive their manager.

Following the advice we have listed in this article, will help you encourage team members to feel comfortable when providing constructive feedback.

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Communicate with the project team: the best techniques to use

A good communication with team is the main method for excellent project management. In fact, effective communication allows a project to have a successful conclusion, but on the other hand, bad communication could be fatal.

The project teams are in a constant state of communication: e-mails, videoconferences, phone calls, messages, face-to-face discussions, and non-verbal interactions.

Whatever the type of media used, project teams can increase the chances of reaching goals if the right communication strategies are developed and if everyone is kept informed about what is happening.

Here are some suggestions for the project manager in order to communicate effectively with the team during the project.

Adopt an “open door” policy

An “open door” policy allows anyone to ask questions and expose concerns and ideas at any time.

This is an important part of building trust within the team. Knowing that it is possible to ask questions about any concern is a great motivation for team members. It makes them feel important and an integral part of the project.

Another suggestion is not only to “open the door” figuratively, but also literally. Removing physical obstacles between employees creates a sense of mutual trust and encourages an open exchange of ideas.

Be open to mutual feedback

Nobody is perfect, so we all need a feedback from time to time.

A criticism or feedback is useful when it is constructive and, to be effective, it must be clear and detailed.

And we must not forget that feedback or criticism, whatever it may be, must be accepted and processed by the person who receives it. A good Project Manager must be ready to carefully examine the feedback received from the team and to take, where necessary, the right measures and / or corrections.

Be clear about the activities so that everyone knows his responsibility

No one can complete an activity if he is not sure what his responsibilities are.

For a project manager, it is essential to make sure that the whole team knows the purpose of the project and that each individual has a clear idea of what exactly is expected of him. In this a RACI matrix can be very useful.

Bringing the team together regularly in order to monitor progress, ask questions, and tackle any problem is another effective way to keep everyone on track. Make sure all team members are aware of their responsibilities within the project.

Do fun things to boost morale

Team building exercises have long been used to improve communication between team members.

In addition to organizing role-plays or other workplace activities, it is also possible to organize a dinner (for example once a month).

The goal is to create socialization among team members. When colleagues are comfortable with each other, they communicate better.

The feeling of having a second family at work makes people more willing to work harder towards a common goal.

Give a purpose to coffee breaks

coffee break
Linked to the previous point and team building: a coffee break allows everyone to interact informally while still in the workplace.

Coffee is the fuel that allows most people to “survive” during working days, so why not make it enjoyable and productive at the same time?

Communication training courses

This can be very effective for improving group communication.

Communication-focused training is not just about basic conversation skills but, depending on the course, it could include presentation skills, writing skills, and training on managerial skills.

Decide which form of communication works best

Different situations require different ways of communication.

For a project that involves team members working remotely, for example, a video conference is an excellent way to keep in touch and exchange information on progress and goals.

For projects with an internal team, face-to-face meetings are often the best method of communication.

In short, depending on the type of project and team, the most efficient form of communication could be different. Therefore, it is important to choose it well.

Use project management software for greater transparency

Project management software enables transparency across the team, giving the possibility to monitor progress, collaborate with other members, and check details and deadlines.

With a simplified system, everyone has access to project specifications and can leave comments that others can see. Moreover, a chat inside the software, will greatly facilitate the communication between members.

Identify group leaders

In most project teams, there may be several leaders (below the project manager) who coordinate team subgroups.

It is important to make clear from the start who those leaders are, let the team members, but also the project manager himself, know exactly who to contact in case of problems or questions.

This process distributes work more equitably among leaders and reduces stress on individual team members.

Understanding diversity problems

When people of different nationalities, ideologies, and languages collaborate, the ideas that come from them can create something really special.

But diversity does not come without its challenges: accents, dialects, and cultural dialogues can sometimes lead to confuse communication and create misunderstandings.

To avoid these difficulties, team leaders, together with the project manager, must work on a strategy to minimize these problems.

Identify the strengths of each individual

Not all people like to communicate in the same way.

Visual people, for example, tend to prefer written forms of communication, such as e-mail or software, whereas other type of people benefit more from a phone call, video chat, or face-to-face meetings.

Taking note of the fact that everyone is different and prefers a different form of communication, not only does it improve the spread of information, but it allows us to recognize people as individuals and not as mere numbers.

Be open and honest with team members

Perhaps the most effective way to improve interpersonal communication in the workplace is to spread a sense of trust among team members.

Transparency is the key. If team members feel that some information is kept secret, any trust that has built up over time goes away.

Obviously, some sensitive information must be kept secret, but when it comes to something related to team members, they have the right to know.

The project manager must therefore be open and honest with them and ask them to do the same.

Mutual trust is important in every relationship, including professional relationships.

Take advantage of mobile devices

mobile devices

Nowadays, almost everyone has a smartphone or other mobile device connected to the network.

So why not take advantage of the opportunities that technological progress gives us?

Some software solutions for project management, for example, can offer an app for project managers and team members, with which it is possible to stay up to date on project developments in real time. In Twproject, for example, you can use the chat.

Make an anonymous survey

In many workplaces, it can be difficult for team members to always be honest.

In order to understand the needs and concerns of the team, a solution can be that of an anonymous survey.

In this way, it will be possible to collect all the concerns that are not directly communicated and find out possible problems that the project manager could not know.

People are more likely to be honest if they know their opinions are and will remain anonymous.

Take responsibility for errors

The best managers are those who assume their responsibilities, even – and above all – when it comes to errors.

Everyone makes mistakes, so by confessing his own fault, a project manager will show to be a human just like his employees.

Using these suggestions, you can bring the team together, improve communication and, in general, make the workplace a better place.

These factors lead to an improvement in the quality of the project, better control over the budget, and greater customer satisfaction.

When the workplace becomes a second home and colleagues become a second family, this cohesion translates into maximum team productivity.

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Steering Committee

As the name suggests, a steering or coordination committee helps guide and coordinate a project from beginning to end.

Sometimes, the committee is formed entirely by the team that is directly involved in developing and implementing the project.

More often, however, the steering or coordination committee is composed of representatives of key organizations who are partners in the project and / or who have particular experience in the project sector or whose clients are the final users of the project output.

In general, it is very important and useful to include at least one client or potential user of the output of the project. Their feedback, in fact, can be useful for the success of the project.

A steering committee must be useful to the project manager and not be a distraction or a cause for disturbance, which is why its members should be carefully selected.

What is the role of a steering committee?

The role of the steering committee is to provide advice and ensure the achievement and delivery of project results.

This can include activities such as:

  • Provide input to the development of the project, including the evaluation strategy;
  • Provide advice on the project budget;
  • Define and help achieve project results;
  • Identify the priorities in the project, ie the activities where most of the energy must be directed;
  • Identify and monitor the potential risks of the project;
  • Monitor the quality of the project as it progresses;
  • Give advice, and if necessary make decisions, on project changes

In short, the steering committee provides support, guidance and supervision of progress.

As a rule, the project manager will attend the meetings of the steering committee in order to report and inform on the development of the project and to answer any questions raised by the committee members.

The role of the steering committee is to provide advice and ensure the achievement and delivery of project results.

What role do individual members of the steering committee play?

The members of the Steering Committee are not directly responsible for project management and activities, but provide support and guidance for those who directly work on the project, ie the project team.

Committee members should:

  1. Understand the goal, strategy, and expected results of the project;
  2. Appreciate the importance of the project for the organization and its customers;
  3. Be sincerely interested in the project and the desired results;
  4. Be a supporter of the project by doing everything possible to promote the results;
  5. Have a broad understanding of project management problems.

 In practice, it means that the members of the steering committee should:

  • Ensure that the planned strategy matches the purpose of the project;
  • Review the progress of the project with respect to milestones;
  • Consider ideas and problems;
  • Provide guidance to the project team;
  • Help balancing priorities and conflicting resources;
  • Promote positive communication outside the committee;
  • Actively promote project outputs;
  • Contribute to project evaluation.

Often, a President of the Steering Committee is also elected. It will be a member of the committee that will moderate and ensure that the meetings run smoothly.

It should therefore be emphasized that the first responsibility of the members is to achieve the success of the project and only in the second place, there is the interests of the organization as a whole.

For this reason, members who have experience in a particular area should avoid focusing only on that part. They have to remember that they work on the general project support.

Sometimes, it is useful for the project manager to prepare a simple description of the roles of the members of the steering committee, in which the expectations and the commitment required are defined.
il comitato direttivo

How often should a steering committee meet?

The frequency of the Committee’s meetings is determined by the size and scale of the project.

Usually, for smaller projects it is sufficient to schedule a meeting during the planning phase, another around half of the project in order to monitor progress and a final meeting to evaluate the project results and contribute to its evaluation.

For larger projects, the committee should instead plan meetings that coincide with the milestones of the project.

It is a good practice to set meeting dates in advance, thus ensuring the commitment of committee members to attend.

Steering Committee: meetings

At least one week before the meeting, the Project Manager should distribute the necessary documents for the meeting to all the members of the committee.

These should include:

  • An agenda, including the time scheduled for the meeting, so that members can organize their times accordingly.
  • A report from the last meeting, including an updated action list.
  • A report on the status of the project.
  • Any other documents to be considered in the meeting

The chairman of the committee will conduct the meeting according to the agenda, making sure that all members are encouraged to provide input during the meeting.

It is important to check the list of the actions agreed in the previous meeting (if any), confirm the actions taken and the problems solved and find an agreement on how to proceed with actions that have not yet been completed.

As soon as possible, after the meeting, and no later than one week, a report of the meeting should be sent to the members.

This is important to ensure that members move in the same direction and follow the procedures.

The report should, in fact, include the list of actions agreed during the meeting, marked with the name of the „owner“ and the expected timing for its implementation.

Copies of any additional documentation discussed or produced during the meeting should also be included.

Moreover, the details of the next meeting should also be indicated.

 In conclusion, a consideration is here quite clear.

A steering committee is not in charge of running the project in place of the project manager; if, however, the members of the committee have been selected and adequately informed, their involvement and their experience will have a very positive impact on the achievement of the project goal. If we have this in mind, we can understand how this organ can become fundamental in the economy of the project.

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Project Leader vs Project Manager

Project Leader and Project Manager are two terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. But are they really synonymous?

We will see in this article the differences and similarities between this two roles. We will explain their tasks and responsibilities and how important it is to know the difference between the two.

In general, a project leader can be a project manager, but the project manager is hardly a project leader.

However, both are part of a project and make sure that everything is finalized in the best way, even if their roles are not the same.

The difference between Project manager and Project leader

To understand the difference between managers and leaders, it is possible to use some definitions of leadership and management.

John C. Maxwell in his book “The 360 ​​Degree Leader” provided one of the simplest yet profound descriptions of the distinction between a manager and a leader.

He said that managers work with processes, while leaders work with people.

John Paul Kotter goes even further, stating that management involves planning, budgeting, organization, human resources, control and resolution of problems, while leadership involves setting the direction, aligning people, motivating and inspiring the group.

Kotter describes leadership and management as two different complementary action systems, each with their own characteristics and functions.

However, both are necessary for change and for the organization as a whole.

On the basis of these definitions, it can therefore be argued that management is clearly different from leadership.

Leadership is necessary to initiate change, innovate and create new products, systems, and services. Leadership also means motivating people in becoming agents of change, risk managers, and innovators.

Management, on the other hand, deals mainly with the correct and effective functioning of processes.

This does not mean that project managers should not be leaders; on the contrary, to become a good project manager, you need to be a good leader.

Responsibilities of project leaders and project managers

Project leaders and project managers are often considered interchangeable positions in smaller project teams.

However, in larger teams dealing with more complex projects, these professionals must work together in order to keep the project on track.

Project leaders can, for example, use a project budget and motivate team members, while project managers help set the budget based on cost analysis and review team efficiency.

Let‘s take a closer look at the responsibilities and tasks of this two roles.

Project Leader

Probably the most important task for project leaders is to be a link between project team members and company leadership.

In software development teams, project leaders are also known as scrums masters and development sprint leads.

The job responsibilities of a project leader include:

  • Assisting and planning meetings with other leaders, such as the project director.
  • Developing reports on project progress and financial conditions.
  • Testing the product prototypes.
  • Keeping the team focused and motivated
  • Guiding people throughout the project; the project leader is always present in case of problems.
  • Ensuring that the project is carried out in the best possible way.
  • Motivating, giving clues, providing ideas, listening to the team.

In general, the project leader has more freedom than the project manager when it comes to giving orders and controlling people.

In essence, the project leader adds value to the project and the team, gives meaning to the work as a whole and makes people feel that their work is appreciated and important.

In short, the project leader is a spiritual support for the team.

Project Manager

Project managers define the goals of the project after meeting the company leaders and learning the specifications of the requested and commissioned output.

Together with business leaders, the project manager also approves project plans and work orders, prioritizing the tasks.

Moreover, the project managers create a document, similar to a contract, which specifies the plan and the characteristics of the deliverables.

The job responsibilities of a project manager include:

  • Providing quality assurance tests on the final product.
  • Supervisioning of the technical staff.
  • Ensuring that employees adhere to contracts or company policies.
  • Breaking down the project into smaller tasks (WBS – Work Breakdown Structure)
  • Ensuring compliance with deadlines.
  • Taking care of the budget, the program, deadlines, documentation, human resources, etc.
  • Reporting progress; the project manager is responsible for providing updates on project progress and possible obstacles.


In a nutshell, the project manager should not motivate people, but keep things organized.

The importance of Project Leader and Project Manager

Being a project manager or project leader requires a lot of work in terms of managing and analyzing data and all information relating to the progress of the team or the organization in general.

Both roles are fundamental for the success of a project and for the motivation of the team.

Since both roles must know and follow every detail of the project carefully, it is extremely important that they have access to all the data.

A leader, like a manager, must act in an intelligent and thoughtful way and that is why he needs to use certain tools to improve the work, such as a project management software. Twproject was built precisely on the basis of the needs of the Project Leaders and Project Managers but also paying close attention to the needs and requirements of the Team. If you haven’t tried it yet, try Twproject now for free (link a and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to use and how Twproject can make things easier for you.

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Resource management

Resource Management, or the ability to manage resources useful for the execution of a project, is one of the skills definitely required in the case of a Project Manager.

It is logic that an organization uses different resources for the execution of a single project. These resources typically include people, equipment, information, materials, time, and money. Most organizations, however, have a limited amount of resources available and, therefore, their allocation planning is essential for their effective management and use.

Project resource management involves not only the implementation of internal and external resources necessary for the delivery of a project, but also their procurement.

Having said this, it is obvious that Resource Management focuses primarily on the use of resources, on monitoring their use and productivity, and on measuring the effectiveness of the resources used.

 Plans and Processes for managing the resources of a project

Resource management also involves the creation of plans and processes that facilitate their management and there are several ways to implement them.

For example, one can create spreadsheets, documents, use project management software or use a combination of these three tools.

The main goal, regardless of the method chosen, will always be to successfully manage all the resources until the end of the project.

Let´s see the steps for a good management of project resources.

7 secrets for the good management of project resources

1. Resource estimation

Estimating the need for resources, internal as well as external, is one of the first steps in managing project resources.

One of the most common techniques used for resource estimation is the judgment of the experts, ie the estimate made on the basis of the experience acquired in previous projects.

Here every resource is evaluated, from people to machines and even to any physical space, such as an office, which is needed during the project.

It is necessary to focus well and spend sufficient time at this stage; the more complete the list of resources, the more accurate the program will be.

 2. Data collection

There are some data not only necessary but indispensable for the efficient management of resources in a project. Among the data that should not be missing, we can include:

  • Available resources
  • Requirements for resources
  • How resources will be able to meet the demands

If these details are not deeply investigated, the PM could have serious difficulties in completing the project.

resource management

3. Resource plan

As already mentioned, each project plan must have a separate resource plan that contains various aspects relating to the need, allocation, and use of resources from the beginning to the end of the project.

Just like any other aspect of project management, also when planning resources, you should start with a plan. This will be the basis on which the management process will be built.

In the resource plan, a project manager can create, for example, a hierarchical list of resources needed to complete the project.

Since this is a plan, it is necessary to involve the other members of the project team, too. In fact, some team members may require additional resources.

4. Plan the development of the plan

Planning for development involves setting the start and end dates of all project activities in order to create a final program.

The resource plan, containing the hierarchical distribution of resources, also called Structure Breakdown Structure – RBS, is then combined with the breakdown of project activities. This helps to assign the required resources to each activity more efficiently.

These basic hierarchies should include at least the staff and, preferably, all the resources on which the project budget will be spent, but it is up to the project manager to define which type of hierarchies are relevant for each specific project.

5. Verification of over-allocations

 A project manager must ensure that the over-allocation of any resource is avoided.

The over-allocation occurs when a greater amount of work is assigned to a resource that, consequently, will not be able to complete the activity within the normal working hours.

This can lead to overtime, which will consequently affect the budget, or could even block or derail a project.

It is therefore essential that resources are balanced.

6. Negotiate for resources

Smaller projects generally rely on the organization’s internal resources. In more complex projects, however, resources can easily come from the outside.

This implies that the Project Manager should have excellent negotiating skills in order to obtain the necessary organizational resources, both internal and external, at the best cost.

7. Monitor the work schedule

You need to be able to monitor the hourly and daily availability of individual resources, and keep track of their vacations and absences.

In the case of a remote team, it is also important to take into account the time differences, as well as the various global holidays that may differ from the national holiday calendar.

The team’s workload is another metric that a project manager needs to monitor closely.

If all the work is done by a few team members, while the others are inactive, resources will need to be redistributed.

Another method could be to level the resources, ensuring that the activities are equally distributed within the team


In conclusion, resource management is strongly linked to project management planning.

These are different but complementary disciplines. The more resource management is implemented with a holistic approach, the greater the possibility of being able to act in a timely manner in order to keep the project on track and direct it towards success, respecting the pre-established times and budget.

Therefore, it is necessary for a project manager to have the right tools to have information about the resources while the project is in progress.

Using a Gantt chart provides a visual approach to project activities, durations, and dependencies that link one activity to another.

Other project managers could use an Excel spreadsheet or a specific and more reliable project management tool.

In general, when managing the resources of a project, there are several elements to monitor, and this process can become complicated and confusing.

However, with the right tool, it is possible to plan, monitor, and generate reports on resources with great control and precision.

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How to manage an Agile team

Learning to manage an Agile Work Team is not easy. For many companies, becoming more “agile” requires a significant change in the way leaders and managers seek success.

The frameworks of managing projects established as Agile are too often considered as models to copy and paste. But if you really want to work fast, deliver the results in time and achieve the goals, you need to adapt the Agile method to the team.

How an Agile team works

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An Agile team is an inter-functional group of autonomous people. The people in the group can deliver the product without having to rely on expertise outside the group.


It is indeed a “complete team“. It does not need anything and nobody more in order to carry out the activities.

Agile management has been developed as an alternative to the traditional project management, directed towards an important and unique final result.

The Agile methodology, on the other hand, reduces the goals to different (sub)independent products that can be developed and released quickly.

The two main styles of management of the Agile project are Scrum and Kanban. Both use a tab to view the activities in columns that represent the tasks that have to be done, those in progress and those that have been completed.

There are some features that define an Agile workflow:

  • Daily stand-up: a daily meeting in which contributors and managers discuss the work carried out the previous day, the activities planned for the day, and all the questions that arise.
  • Sprint: short intervals in which the products are planned, developed, reviewed, and released. They are projects within the projects.
  • Periodic and retrospective reviews: an Agile team manages itself, but there are integrated measures to ensure that work is delivered with consistent quality. Periodic reviews take place before activities are completed.

With short intervals of tasks and demanding schedules, an Agile workflow requires a coordinated team.

The roles must be fairly assigned so that people know exactly what they need to do at any time, but flexible enough to allow people to take the initiative and exceed expectations.

The roles within an Agile team

Since an Agile development team must be “everything”, it is important to have the right and defined roles in the group. The most common Agile team roles are:

  • Team Leader. If you are using the Scrum method, this role will be the Scrum Master. The focal point of this figure is to facilitate the work of the team. The Team Leader or Scrum Master is responsible for finding resources for the team and ensures that team members can work safely with everything they need, allowing them to go ahead and do a great job.
  • Product owner. This role is more or less similar to a project sponsor in the case of non-Agile projects. This is the person who represents the interests of the client / stakeholder, ie the person who will own the product on which the Agile team is working.
  • Team member. Any person who is part of the team and / or has something valuable to make in order to successfully complete the deliverables.
  • Tester. Since much of the Agile work is still done in the IT world (Information Technology), software testing is still an important part of the Agile teams. Even in non-IT teams, a figure that can act as a tester could be useful. Because Agile projects are provided incrementally, the test is very important.

On larger teams or specialized products the following figures may also be present:

  • Experts in technical sectors or in other sectors. They may not be entirely part of the team and could be released as needed to support the core team.
  • Architect. The role of the system architect is to ensure that the solution fits into the scope and fits into the rest of the corporate architecture.

manage agile team

Building the Agile team on a solid foundation

Once the team is chosen and structured, it is important to remember that agile teams are like individuals: they need time to grow.

Agile teams go through four key phases as they develop:

  1. Forming: at this stage a very high level of leadership by the project manager is required. Individual roles are still unclear and the processes have yet to be established.
  2. Storming: here we begin to understand how the team’s decisions are made, the purpose is clear but the relationships within the team are still confused
  3. Norming: relationships are now well understood within the team, a general commitment is made to achieve the goals and process optimization begins.
  4. Performing: in this phase the team is at the peak and has reached maturity, therefore it needs little surveillance.

When a change is introduced, such as a new hiring, retirement of a member, etc. The team returns to the forming phase while absorbing the change.

Two pillars that characterize the great Agile teams

  • Continuous Mentoring. One of the great advantages of working in a team is that colleagues learn from each other and help each other. Mentoring is not just an activity for junior members who learn from senior members. All team members learn from each other so that the impact of the team as a whole is greater than the sum of the impact of individual members.
  • Shared skill sets. Shared skills unlock the power of the team to deal with heterogeneous work. Whatever the role, it is always important to learn new skills because it makes an individual more valuable for the organization and better equipped to support the other. This way, team members will always discover new and better ways to perform tasks. This factor will bring forward not only the project, but the entire organization.

Ultimately, the people of an Agile team count as much as the structure and plan of a project.

If people have been addressed and assigned to roles in which they can excel and establish clear standards that make them responsible, it will be possible to obtain not only better products and results, but a team and an organization that improves measurably with each project.

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The next generation PMO

Our journey into the future continues with the analysis of the second report on disruptive technologies presented by the PMI. You can read the first article here.

This time the focus is on the PMO, the department that manages the projects within an organization.

The massive chain effect of disruptive technologies is like a powerful accelerator of the way in which the Project Management Office adapts to new methods and new tools.

Next generation PMOs are at the forefront of adopting and implementing disruptive technologies and are also taking a more strategic role within the organization.

The PMO in a disruptive world

One thing is certain:

Only those organizations that will succeed in developing capacity for change and speed of response will survive.
If companies fail to innovate and integrate the new technologies, they will be destined to disappear from the market.

Of course, this statement may seem too drastic, but the changes and contaminations from different sectors are already visible.

The rapid emergence of disruptive technologies combined with the speed of the market are the factors on which organizations must focus.

So here is the need for PMOs to:

  • Quickly adapt to changes made by these technologies
  • Support initiatives based on disruptive technologies
  • Discover how to apply these technologies to the functions of the PMO

So far, the PMOs have been slow to change, but the rise of disruptive technologies, together with the change of global market priorities and the drive towards continuous innovation, should act as a stimulus to start a real transformation.

The PMOs moving towards change understand that in today’s environment, the success of an organization depends on both an effective and dynamic strategy, both from a creative and resilient execution by an enhanced PMO.

The skills of the next generation PMO

Project managers and PMOs must be ready, available and able to work in new ways in order to make the most of disruptive technologies.

The skills required within the PMO will surely be influenced by the existence of disruptive technologies.

And what are the skills that will be most requested? The report shows an interesting series of facts. We quote the chart with the answers that seem more interesting.

From the following table, it is possible to see, for each of the skills or activities, the increase in actual or requested use in a PMO during the last year:

next generation pmo

Agile Approach, leadership, informal communication, in short, the knowledge of the PMO are expanding. Often this happens with the addition of new approaches, combined with the traditional basic concepts of project management.
Today’s disruptive technologies are a call to action that aims to reformulate the role of the PMO.

In fact, the PMO is recognized as a driving force by 92% of managers.

As disruptive technologies create new models and strategic opportunities, the new generation of PMOs is evolving from passive entities that manage goals, costs, and plans to active partners who drive and execute strategic initiatives.

The PMO of the next generation is therefore no longer inextricably linked to traditional measures of success such as planning and budgeting, but it must be a strategic factor, bridging the gap between the vision of a company and the way in which that vision comes to life.

This evolution will not only ensure that the organization is ready to take full advantage of disruptive technologies, but also that it can withstand future challenges and reach future opportunities.

The best PMOs are leading the way, changing their systems, adapting their approaches, and reinventing their processes to allow their organization to begin a new era.

And are you ready with your group to ride the disruptive technologies?

You can download this second report at the following address

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Multigenerational Work Team: Know them to manage them

We talked a few articles ago about the Project Manager and how the management of the project teams should function, not considering the generational difference.

We have described, in that article, how today, in a job or in a team, up to 5 generations can be co-present, and this aspect must be managed at best if a project has to be successfully concluded.

Developing and mastering the generational skills within your work team is therefore essential for the project manager. Thanks to it, it will be possible to better understand the behaviors (“what” the team members do), and clarify the convictions and basic attitudes (“why” the team members do it).

As a result, project managers will improve leadership, time management and communication in order to foster respect and maximum productivity among team members.

How to overcome the generational differences of the work team

According to industry experts, the so-called generational gap is, in large part, the result of misunderstandings fueled by common insecurities and the desire for influence.

In an integration process, three relevant areas have been identified for project managers who wish to develop their generational competence and reduce this gap.

  1. Leadership (hierarchy and authority between generations),
  2. Time management (personal and work time between generations)
  3. Communication (favorite styles across generations)

Leadership: hierarchy and authority through the generations

The teams that work on a project are never homogeneous both for age as well as for culture and life experiences.

Therefore, in order to affirm one’s leadership, it is fundamental to understand where a generation tends to see the hierarchy and the authority. By hierarchy and authority we mean the whole package, including the way the rules are set, the way teamwork is displayed, and how management styles vary.

It will be appropriate, therefore, to make a roundup on the characteristics of the various generations in order to understand them more thoroughly.

multigenerational work team

Loyalty and respect are a common denominator for Millenials (Generation Y). The Millenial is faithful to people, respects and seeks the guidance of those who hold positions of authority.

It is important to involve this generation, to really give them a “seat at the table” and to seriously consider their ideas, their creativity and the innovation they offer.

Of course, this can go against corporate hierarchical systems, but it is good to think that, despite their young age, in many workplaces they are no longer the younger generation, or if they are, they will soon pass that role to the Generation Z.

The Baby Boomers, on the other hand, support teamwork and fairness, but think that the rules can be challenged. It is important to be prepared to clarify the reasons for the proposed changes, since it is a generation that easily questions authority.

Due to the propensity of this generation, it can also be strategic and effective to ask them to guide new employees in the organization.

Many people belonging to the Generation Y are sons of Boomers and for this reason there is a high level of synergy and understanding between the new “younger” generations and the “younger” generations in the workplace.

Generation X, on the contrary, believes that the rules are dynamic and established by individuals rather than by institutions. They tend to test authority and do not like too much supervision or micromanagement. This generation of individuals is often guided better by exploiting their independent and entrepreneurial instincts. The best way to value this generation is based on new ways and individual approaches towards things.

Strategic time management and priorities: work and personal time in all generations

In a spectrum of time management, we need to consider the different priorities in terms of work-life balance and related obligations.

The Baby Boomers consider work as a high priority. If involved, they commit their work hours to projects, regardless of productivity.

This is a generation that has invented the concept of the workaholic and strongly believes in visibility in the workplace.

Generally speaking, it is a generation which is reluctant to take a break and lose the so-called “place in the team”, resulting, for many, in a state of imbalance between work and family.

Many strategies to work effectively with Baby Boomers are focused on recognizing the time spent on projects. A public recognition of their work, in addition to benefits based on financial criteria (for example, expense accounts, travel), more flexible working hours, and interactions with the highest roles of the company, help motivate them and communicate the value attributed to their work.

Generation X, on the other hand, is characterized by the desire to control and set up one’s career path, personal ambitions, time and place of work. It is paid to do a job, but has also time for other areas of life.

Many individuals of this generation is still rebellious against Boomer parents who have never found this balance between private and professional life.

Generation X shows much more than a “work to live mentality” and sacrifices balance when necessary, but not as a general rule.

The best X Generation management best practices indicate that you focus on your business while leaving the greatest possible time management freedom. At the micro level, this can take the form of allowing them to work alone or reward them with a price in form of free time for a job well done.

At the macro level, it is possible to provide them with options to control their professional development path. Prizes and awards should not be visible – like in the case of Boomers – and should focus on the results of the project, rather than the time spent on a project or even an organization.

The Millennials generation is driven by a strong need for work-life balance and benefits that enable a rewarding career and life, including personal development and community involvement.

For this generation, lifestyle and meaningful experience count and they are looking for an organization that allows both.

It is important to recognize the Mllennials’ desire for frequent and ascendant change, and organizations can do so by offering a variety of career paths in project management and exposure to a myriad of project experiences.

Communicate with the multigenerational work team: communication styles

In a communication approach, we need to be aware of what types of communication are most appreciated by each group and how they are used.

Baby Boomers believe a lot in face-time, that is in the interpersonal relationship, although they often like a written follow-up.

It is important to understand that this “workaholic” generation often expects more than anything, and this includes not only the hours, but also the follow-through, the project documentation and the organization. Although they are almost at the top of the organization considering the age, their technological capabilities should not be underestimated.

Generation X and Millennials both have a lower value in terms of face time, having grown with much greater technological influences than the Baby Boomers.

Generation X tends to look for open communication regardless of organizational hierarchy and status. This techno-literate generation often uses e-mail as the primary method of communication, preferring to keep short messages. It is a generation that appreciates giving and receiving regular feedback.

Millennials like communications anytime, anywhere and can be described as techno-savvy (techno-experts).

It is the first generation that needs to be connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a generation that requires real-time communication as text, chat, Twitter.

What at first sight may seem like a distraction is often their way of working and doing multitasking. Technological social networks have also translated into a more natural ability to work in teams, interact with different people and connect between different cultures. This generation seeks positive reinforcements from superiors and respects their opinions.

Some strategies for communicating with multigenerational work teams

In addition to specific strategies for the already mentioned generations, it is good to always have a general overview, an alternative point of view.

For this reason, we want to provide you with some strategies for the leadership of successful multigenerational projects:

Strategy n. 1: Do your research

Although we often think of generations in terms of age, as we have seen, each generation is defined much more by common experiences than by birth years. So, just like you would do with a national culture, do your research.

Understanding the key factors and events that have shaped the group’s behavior in each country will help you understand more and judge less. Do not create stereotypes based on age. Age is just a number.

Strategy n. 2: be ready to embrace change

In the last ten years, the US labor force has changed dramatically. The generation of Baby Boomers has shrunk from 18% to 2% and Gen X and Millennials have come to dominate the workforce with a percentage of 64%.

As a leader in high-performance organizations, we need to be aware of both the current generation situation in the countries we are working in and changes in the horizon. Being ready to embrace change, we need improve our ability to conduct effectively.

Strategy n. 3: Develop your “generational competence”

Through our educational and professional efforts, we focus on skills development. Demonstrating “cultural competence” has become popular, but have you thought about management changes that you can make to show “generational competence”? For example, in general, the Chinese Millennials are motivated by a tough work, while European Millennials often seek work-life balance, and US Millennials seek work that offers personal satisfaction, taking into account differences like these is now a critical part of achieving organizational success on a global scale.

Strategy n. 4: focus on being relevant

Rather than equating “different” with “bad”, today’s leaders should think more about how to be relevant. As we modify our products and strategies for different markets, we need to change our leadership and communication style for the different types of teams we come into contact with. We have to adapt to different cultures. We must also strive to change behaviors and expectations, whenever possible, trying to be the most suitable leader for each generation. Our goal, in essence, is to reap the benefits of the different project management environment in which we find ourselves from time to time.
As for the national culture, the first step is to become aware of the differences. Be open about what you notice and make it a topic of conversation within the team. Do it while working to maximize synergies between generational and national borders.

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Stakeholder engagement plan: how to plan stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement and stakeholder management are, without doubt, fundamental for project success, but, despite this, they are often considered a marginal activity.

Stakeholder engagement is instead an essential and at the same time broad topic.

It includes gathering and sharing information, managing concerns and complaints, measuring the impact and importance of different stakeholder groups, efficient communication and more.

This is why we decided to dedicate this article to how to plan stakeholder engagement.

The stakeholder engagement plan

As with any other business process, the stakeholder engagement process should be systematic, logical and practical.

This process can be represented in cyclic form. It is a constant process and lessons learned from past experience determine future planning and commitment.

The process is not linear, rather it is an iterative process.

The organization learns and improves its ability to engage with significant stakeholder involvement. This improvement takes place while relations of mutual respect are developed, which replace the one-off consultations.

Let’s see the various phases of the stakeholder engagement plan:


Identify the basic goals, the problems that have to be faced and the stakeholders to whom the critical priorities for the organization should be assigned.

Understanding the stakeholders

Identify the urgency they feel for their problems, the legitimacy of their interest and the power they have to impact on the organization in general. Have an understanding of their motivations, goals and problems, and which of these are actually the problems of the project. In this way it will be possible to outline the priority stakeholders.

Building trust

The different stakeholders will come with different levels of trust and confidence. Recognizing this and the way in which we interact with them will therefore have to adapt to the level of trust.


For general success, it is important to get during this phase:
Fair representation of all stakeholders.
Provide information and proposals that respond directly to the expectations and interests of previously identified stakeholders and not only to information that responds to internal goals and activities.
Provide detailed background information to stakeholders who must draw fair and reasonable conclusions.
Be realistic in the negotiations regarding expectations, needs and goals. This will help to reach an agreement and create trust.

The consultation process includes personal interviews, workshops, focus groups, public meetings, surveys and other participatory tools. It is important to choose the relevant process for each stakeholder group; one model does not fit everyone.

Respond and implement

Decide a course of action for each issue. Understanding the possible reactions of stakeholders to a proposal.

Monitor, evaluate and document

Knowledge management is essential in order to acquire information and share what is learned. The transparency of the process is greatly helped by accurate documentation. Remember to report to stakeholders on progress, in a form and language understandable by them.

The golden rules for optimal stakeholder engagement

the Stakeholder engagement Plan

  • Internal alignment of the organization in terms of expectations, roles and results. Being flexible will help achieve this, as well as appreciate the different points of view, pressures and business goals.
  • Building a relationship of trust with the stakeholders is very important, helped by an understanding of their points of view and their motivations. Project managers must therefore evaluate the level of trust in relationships but not be too hasty in their judgment.
  • Understanding the motivations of stakeholders and the organization and being transparent can help overcome differences. Recognizing that the fundamental motivation of each part may be very different from another. However, understanding and articulating this difference can already help fill in the gaps.
  • The organization must recognize the importance of the opinions and commitment of the stakeholders. It is essential that the organization as a whole appreciates the contribution that stakeholders make to the overall success of the company.
  • It is important to plan commitment and communication in a way that encourages everyone’s point of view.
  • The organization’s culture will have an impact on how stakeholder engagement occurs. For this reason the assessment of the corporate culture is important to identify the enabling factors and the obstacles to the activities of stakeholder involvement.
  • Evaluating a past non-productive involvement will help the organization learn from past experiences. It is therefore important to collect this information from the point of view of the organization and the stakeholders.

In conclusion, organizations can no longer choose if they want to interact with stakeholders or not; the only decision they have to make is when and how to successfully engage with them.

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Emotional intelligence and project management

When the concept of Emotional Intelligence entered the mainstream for the first time, the skeptics labeled it as a temporary fashion that would soon be forgotten.

However, since the publication in 1995 of Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence”, emotional intelligence has increased its credibility in the business world more and more, becoming an important skill for managers.

Today, indeed, the project manager’s work is not limited to defining the project scope, creating a plan or keeping track of costs and timing.

Other activities are entering the field and the agenda of the PM. We talk about activities such as relationship development, team building, influence, collaboration and negotiation.

Attention to the business climate has also increased. In order to optimize the results of the project, while maximizing the use of resources, it becomes essential that those who manage the project understand and apply the principles of emotional intelligence.

The project manager must be able to create a climate in which customers, team members, stakeholders and management can communicate clearly. A climate in which it will be easy to manage challenges more effectively and make choices in order to act strategically and quickly.


Emotional Intelligence: the capabilities of the Project Manager

In fact, project managers must be able to do the following:

  • Operating in complex environments: project managers must influence, negotiate and collaborate with other departments and teams and understand the interdependencies of projects. The ability to build relationships and understand how to get the best out of others is a critical skill that the project manager must inevitably possess.
  • Creating effective teams: people are the key to the success of any project and project managers rarely have direct control over the staff they work with. They must therefore be able to motivate the team, manage members from the most disparate sources and manage conflicts, all skills that require the ability to understand people and their particular needs.
  • Managing change: by their very nature, projects cause change. Building a technical solution is just a component of a project; understanding and managing the impact of this solution on a population of users and the effect of this change is a critical skill for a project manager.
  • Leadership: project managers must have the role of leader with respect to the people involved in the project, to the stakeholders and to the other groups with whom they interact. In addition to the ability to make decisions based on analysis of the situation, the ability to make decisions based on understanding the impact on people is also an important aspect of leadership.
  • Results: the complexity of the environment and the degree to which the collaboration must be successful are unprecedented and the simple ability to draw a project plan is not sufficient to make a project manager succeed. Understanding your emotions, the emotions of others and how these can be managed more effectively, can have an important effect on the ability of a project manager to deliver results.

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The ability of emotional intelligence is based on an individual’s ability to recognize, pay attention and understand the emotions in oneself and others.

This refers to the critical skills that demonstrate empathy, differentiate between emotions, and identify the impact that emotions have on a situation.

Research shows that about 55% of what we perceive from someone comes from body language, about 38% from the tone of the voice and only 7% from the actual words the person is using.

The perception of emotional signals for project managers is therefore a critical skill.

For example, misunderstanding the body language of a stakeholder when trying to negotiate a given factor within a project will not only be a critical factor in the outcome of that single situation, but also on the tone of the relationship throughout the whole project life cycle.

So let’s see in detail the role of emotional intelligence in the routine of a project manager.

Emotional Intelligence and Management: control and management of emotions

In this sense we mean the ability to manage, control and effectively express emotions.

Identifying our moods and the impact of our moods on our behavior is a critical aspect of self-awareness.

For example, if the project manager is stressed out and goes to the team directly after a negative meeting without understanding his personal stress level, there is a risk that this stress will be passed on to the team members. The consequence will be a dramatic reduction in staff motivation.

Emotional intelligence

In this case, the project manager must take time to calm down and rebalance himself and only then he can talk to his staff.

It is therefore essential to be able to perform a self-analysis in order to understand the emotions that are being experienced and how to manage them.

Emotional Intelligence and Decision-making: on whom do I impact?

With emotional intelligence in decision-making, we mean the ability to apply emotions appropriately in order to manage and solve problems, something that a project manager has to do on a daily basis.

Project managers must be able to make decisions by analyzing all aspects of a situation, without distorting reality in a positive or negative way, and understanding the aspects and impacts of people on any decision made.

Decisions often translate into changes and therefore part of the decision is the ability to identify and understand the emotional impact of change on other people.

Emotional Intelligence and Realization: inner motivation

Emotional intelligence with respect to realization is the ability to generate the emotions necessary to motivate oneself in the pursuit of realistic and meaningful goals.

A manager should be able to set goals and, if he fails, to step back, analyze what mus be corrected or changed and continue with corrective and proactive action.

Determination and vigor are feelings that help to advance towards action and realization and for project managers these are fundamental skills for success.

Emotional Intelligence and Influence: being the leader

Influencing, in the concept of emotional intelligence, is the ability to recognize, manage and evoke emotions in others in order to promote change.

It is the ability to assess a situation, interpret the emotional tone and understand the impact of this in the ability to build and maintain social relationships.

How a project manager manages his own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, can have a significant impact on the nature of a relationship.

Emotional intelligence2

Positive emotions tend to translate into a more collaborative relationship. while negative emotions tend to reduce the likelihood of collaboration.

Since a project manager almost always has a variety of heterogeneous groups to influence in order to succeed, the ability to positively influence relationships in order to obtain collaboration can have a perceptible effect on results.

Emotional Intelligence: Conclusions

In summary, project managers work in increasingly complex environments, and it is not enough for a successful project manager to just bring technical skills into the role.

Relationships must be developed, teams must be motivated, changes must be managed.

Improving the ability to perceive the emotions of others, allows you to empathize and adapt the style of management to get a better result.

When a person is able to manage his emotions, he can be sure that these are the right ones in every situation.

If it is possible to use emotions to improve decision making, then it is possible to improve the ability to solve problems.

If it is possible to self-motivate ourselves, it is possible to achieve more realistic goals.

Finally, if it is possible to improve the ability to interpret the emotional tone, it is possible to build more effective relationships and influence the goals and results of a project.

In this way, project managers can be more effective leaders and, consequently, experience greater success in project delivery.

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Process or project? What differences? What goals?

People often confuse projects with processes.

Some might argue that this is only a question of semantics and that saying “project” rather than “process” does not change much.

In fact, there are some areas where projects and processes can overlap (which is why confusion arises), but there is also an essential difference that impacts the way in which the activities are managed in one case or the other.

Project vs. process: the definition

A recognized definition is that:

Projects concern actions never done before, while processes are actions that are done repeatedly.

A project is about creating something new or implementing a change. On the other hand, a process is designed to create value by repeatedly executing an activity.

In a project, the goals and plans can be modified by the stakeholders. The processes, on the other hand, are established procedures for work and can be generally modified only with planning and investments.

In fact, a project is ideally needed to change an established process within an organization.

A project is temporary because it has a defined beginning and end date, and therefore defined scope and resources.

Moreover, a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to achieve a singular goal.

Projects are designed to create changes.
On the other hand, processes are designed to resist change because they establish a repeatable and executable workflow.

Project vs. process: the common points

Both processes and projects aim to achieve something through a sequence of planned activities.

In general, they both need teams and resources that can execute them.

Moreover, they can coexist, as in the case where people work on processes and have a project going on.


Project vs. process: the differences

It should be underlined that between projects and processes there is a significant difference: the frequency with which the activity is repeated.

The projects are in fact one-off, even if there are cases in which the projects become repeatable.

In this situation, if the project becomes repetitive, it becomes a process.

The processes are in fact repeatable and create value by producing a given output on demand.

The fact that the activities are repeated means that it is possible to efficiently cushion the planning effort thanks to the many repetitions.

Instead, in the case of an already planned project, the effort must be repaid by the outcome of the single time it is performed.

When dealing with a project, much of the effort goes into the initial planning. After this step, the effort is focused on checking that everything is following the plan.

The process works differently. In fact, you can review the result from a process and learn from it, you can make changes to the process and you can experiment and see what works and what does not.

The “management effort” is less focused on keeping things on track and is rather oriented to learn how to optimize the process.

So this is the big difference regarding the “management effort” in projects and processes.

Further differences between process and project

In addition to this, projects and processes are supervised differently, making most of the tools incompatible for managing both of them.

Projects are supervised by a primary authority, usually a project manager, who guides the project towards its goal.

The processes are instead managed by all the people involved in the workflow in progress. In other words, they are everyday actions that are formalized with the goal of improving overall efficiency and productivity.


Project management is a consolidated methodology for managing and executing changes within an organization.

It is interesting to see that the project management itself is a defined and repeatable process. Ultimately, all the work involves a process and the project management functions in the same manner.

The correct management of the project proceeds according to well defined principles and procedures that allow to manage organizational changes and new initiatives.

It is simply a very specific and carefully designed process that is repeated and performed every time the company makes a major change and is doing something new for the first time.

The process of implementing these changes is called project management and each change must be managed as a project.

Projects, projects and Twproject

All of what has been said so far shows that there are several reasons for extending project management with processes; often projects or processes are presented as alternatives for the organizational needs of the team.

With Twproject you can get benefits from both, in an integrated solution.

Surely it has happened over time to repeat some of the company’s projects and to standardize them and transform them into “business processes”.

Well, in our software you can find the solution to this situation …. And many others!

In TwProject, the integrated tool for managing business processes greatly expands the possibility of modeling in relation to the project tree. It improves usability even for complex cases, keeping the organization based on the project.

In our  meetings with customers we often present two ways according to which they can model their business processes:

  • with the projects, aimed at giving a minimal structure to work and collect a maximum amount of feedback, worklog, etc.,
  • using business process models, which are workflows. Workflows are more rigid but more accurate. They are more complex to plan but often easier for the end user, who has just to say “go ahead” on their tasks when this is the case.

In conclusion, we can say that there is no difference in importance between a project and a process. In fact, everyone plays an important role in achieving goals within an organization and it is necessary to make sure that they are both used appropriately.

Processes are continuous and repeated procedures that help to achieve business goals, while projects are ways to change processes, launch new products, or otherwise make changes within the organization in order to develop the goals in new ways.

Did you already know the difference between a project and a process? Are there any further differences that you consider relevant? Give us your opinion.

Projects and processes in an integrated solution.

Earned Schedule

The Earned Schedule (ES) is a rather recent methodology.

It was first introduced in 2003 and it is a method of analysis that extends and completes the benefits of the Earned Value Management.

Currently, the Earned Schedule method is used globally in projects of any type and size.

This method is taught in academics, is included in project management manuals and standards dictated by the PMI and is also a research topic at the university.

Not only theory but also practice. It is now widely demonstrated that the ES is useful for project managers for the analysis and control of project performance.

Why is the Earned Schedule born?

Everything is born and takes its cue from the EVM (Earned Value Management) method that offers the project manager and other stakeholders the possibility to visualize the actual costs of the project during its entire life cycle. This, as it is easy to deduce, allows a more effective management of the project itself.

In its original form, the EVM was used to evaluate project performance and predict the cost of the project upon completion.

Normally, project control is established at the level of the work package or the cost report.

In fact, however, this control, although helps in cost management, does not contribute to the control of implementation times. EVM data indeed are not generally used to estimate the time needed to complete a task, a work package or a project or to predict the completion date.

This can lead the project manager to make bad decisions about the Project in general.

It is precisely to fill this gap that the concept of Earned Schedule (ES) is born.

In fact, the ES can transform EVM metrics into time or duration metrics in order to improve the evaluation of the project planning performance and to predict the duration required for its completion.

When combined with an appropriate analysis, this approach can improve the understanding of the estimated time for the Project completion.  It can also provide further insights that allow to make better decisions about project planning and other related parameters.

So let’s see more in detail what it is.

Measure and indicators of the Earned Schedule

The idea of Earned Schedule is similar to the concept of Earned Value (EV). However, instead of using the costs to measure project performance, the reference unit is time.

If we consider the projects that are late, in fact, using the Earned Value, we will have unrealistic indicators. The obtained values will, in a misleading way, make the state of the project look better than it actually is.

The problem lies in the fact that the Earned Value is a value indicator and not a scheduling indicator.

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This then brings the planned value at the end of the project to coincide with the budget upon completion even if the project is late.[/av_notification]

Therefore, the fundamental concept of the ES is to determine the moment, in terms of time, in which the planned work should have corresponded to the value of the work carried out at that precise moment.

earned schedule

The formula of the Earned Schedule

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The Earned Schedule formula corresponds to
ES = C + I.

Where  C is the number of intervals in which EV is equal to or greater than PV and I is the share of the intervals after PV.

In the researches carried out, the question asked was whether the ES is a better method of predicting the duration of the final project than the EVM methods.

The answer is that the ES is way better than any other method related to Earned Value Management.

Of all the methods and data sets studied, the ES is referred to as the best duration prediction method of a project.

For sure, this method is useful for project managers when they have to make decisions in order to meet delivery dates.

While the Earned Value provides an estimate of when the project is likely to end, the Earned Schedule produces an understanding of the probability of completion in precise moments over time.

The ES can also provide useful information to the project manager and analysts and is not difficult to calculate.

Of course, additional work is needed, but it is not as time-consuming as a complete bottom-up review of the entire project program.

EVM and ES have been integrated with statistical confidence limits in order to obtain probable results for the final cost and duration of the project.

The results of this work have shown that the proposed approach is sufficiently reliable for the general application of the forecasting method, both in terms of cost and duration.

earned schedule 1

Moreover, it is shown that the ES approach can be applied effectively no matther what the type of work or the extent of the cost and duration of the project.

Big deviations between the project status and the forecasts usually attract the attention of management and translate into corrective actions. Small deviations are usually not taken into account.

By quantifying and highlighting these deviations, it is possible to bring the focus of management on projects or work packages that require more attention.

As a result, these tools support the effective management of projects and improve the management of the portfolio of business projects.

Consistent use of these techniques that predict project outcomes provides an optimal approach to project reviews, increases confidence in project delivarables as time progresses, and improves management’s ability to take corrective action and appropriate decisions.


In conclusion, we can say that the EVM is a powerful methodology that helps project managers and other stakeholders managing projects and programs more effectively.

By integrating it with the ES method, it is possible to produce valid indicators and reliable predictions on the duration of the project.

The research found out that, compared to other methods based on the EVM, the ES produces the best predictions on the duration of the project.

The Earned Schedule method has a lot to offer to the project manager in order to help him drive and control his project from the beginning to the end.

Have you ever had the opportunity to apply the Earned Schedule to one of your projects? What are your observations? Write them in the comments.

Analyze your projects with the right tools.

Delegating project activities effectively: (7) key suggestions

Delegating project activities is a delicate task, but most often necessary in the management of complex projects.

By working alone you can only do a limited amount of work. Indeed, the hours in a day are limited.

Often, however, especially in the case of the project manager, it will be required to do much more.

This can lead to a real sense of pressure and overload, leading to situations of stress and unhappiness, if not to a real burn out.

One of the most common ways to overcome this limitation is to learn how to delegate the work to other.

If it is done correctly, you can quickly build a group of strong and successful people.

This is why delegation is such an important skill in project management.

In fact, delegation is the main key to maximizing the productivity of a single person.

The problem is that many managers do not know how to delegate effectively, or are not willing to do so unless it is absolutely necessary.

But do not worry, the delegation of the project activities is a skill that, like any other, can be learned and improved over time.

Here are then 7 key suggestions to effectively delegate the project activities.

Delegating project activities : Learn to let go

For the project manager, this is probably the most difficult thing to put into practice.

The biggest problem faced by most managers is, in fact, the inability to abandon part of their work in favor of third parties.

Sometimes you feel so involved in the project and in meeting the deadlines that one can refuse the help of other people.

At other times, it is feared that no one else has the skills or abilities necessary to perform the job effectively. In both cases, we end up overloading ourselves and, paradoxically, moving away from the positive outcome of the project itself.

This is why learning to “let go” becomes fundamental for the success of the project.

But as in all things, the beginning may seem so complicated that is postponed.

“This project is too important … for this time I complete it, next time maybe I will delegate …” (And next time never comes.)

Then a suggestion in order to begin with the process is to start with small steps, thus delegating only the smallest and most basic activities, and then progress.

Delegating project activities : Establish a priority system

Obviously, this system will vary based on experience, sector and types of activities that are normally managed.

Generally speaking, however, it can be helpful to create categories, based on the degree of effort required by a task and the degree of skill.

The category with the highest skills should contain activities that the project manager will have to perform in the first person, while those in the less specialized categories can be delegated.

The degree of commitment is a good reference point in order to understand which are the most important activities to delegate: for example, delegating responsibility for a task of high intensity and low skill will save a lot of time for the project manager.

In order to define the right approach the matrix that Eisenhower, or Covey Matrix, is very interesting and we will discuss about it in a future article.

What we wanted to create in TWproject (in line with this aspect) is the possibility to plan the right priority for each assignment.

Thanks to this the PM can see the assignments for the week, change the priority or remove the points of change: and can do it for every resource involved in the workgroup.

delgating project activities

And not only that: Twproject shows the priority assignments wherever possible, even for the individual participant. In this way each component of the project is able to display and monitor the priorities of his assignments.

delegating project activites - priority od assignment

Delegating project activities : Evaluate the strengths of the team and employees

A project manager should know each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, including his current and potential range of skills.

When delegating, you need to evaluate your team and assign tasks to anyone with the skills most relevant to that activity.

It would seem obvious, but the mistake in which many fall is to delegate to those with the lightest workload or where is most convenient.

Furthermore, it is also important to be consistent. For example, delegating the same type of task to the same team member will increase that individual’s attitude to perform those tasks.

Delegating project activities : Always include instructions

Although the process in the eyes of a project manager seems obvious, you need to make sure to include the instructions for each activity that will be delegated.

If you have specific preferences about how the task should be carried out, this information must be included. If there is a deadline or strict targets, this need to be clear.

Including simple details and instructions from the beginning will avoid much of the communication gap and will allow the colleague to perform the tasks effectively.

Here, then, inserting a specific document, visible only to the operator with the indications of the activity takes only a short time with Twproject, but its benefit is lasting.

This proactive strategic action will definitely be appreciated by the collaborators.

Delegating project activities : Teach new skills

The lack of someone in the team who can perform a certain activity does not mean that work can not be delegated.

Have you ever thought about it?

Most skills can be learned, so do not be afraid to teach these skills as part of the delegation process.

Even if the initial assignment of the first tasks will take more time than is actually saved, this must be seen as an investment.

By transferring these skills, it will be possible to assign all similar activities to that individual in the future, thus saving more time in the long run.

Delegating project activities : Trusting is good, communicating is better

Once a task has been delegated, it is right to trust the collaborator.

This will allow the person to do the job in a serene way.

However, do not be afraid to intervene from time to time and verify that the activity moves as planned.

For example, if the delegation has been done a week ago, it is fair to trust that the team member is working on the task, but activating direct communication is not a wrong step.

This encourages trust and respect within the team and helps to prevent interruptions in communication or understanding.

Delegating project activities : Use feedback

Feedback is the most important part of the delegation process and works in both directions.

If the collaborators have done well a task, it is good to thank them; if the work was not done in the best way, it is good to criticize them constructively in order to avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Likewise, team members must also share their feedbacks and opinions on how the delegation process is working.

This is a fundamental moment in order to determine if the project manager is providing enough information and if the right activities are assigned to the right people.

Delegation is not always easy, but the sooner you start, the sooner you will develop the skills to do it effectively.

At first glance, delegation may seem more problematic than it actually is, but by effectively delegating it is possible to vastly expand the amount of work that can be offered.

Do you regularly delegate in your work? How do you manage the delegation process? Tell us about your experience.

Delegate in effective way.