Project Strategy Leadership Governance
For the purpose of this assignment you will assume the role of an individual operating at a senior management level within a specialised digital construction firm in the UK. The organisation has 5 facilities in the country and is a mature organisation – over 10 years in the sector.
Due to their application of modern technology in the construction industry, a parallel firm in South Africa, albeit with less experience, has partnered with them to enhance their project delivery on a new construction project. It is hoped that the collaboration will benefit the two parties – the South Africa firm will learn and adopt new technologies such as drone inspection, the use of Digital Twins and Augmented Reality. For the UK firm, this could be a door opening up to international partnerships.
In your role, you have been tasked by the board to produce a report of no more than 3,000 words that addresses the issue of the strategic nature of the project and how it can be strategically managed. The board is also concerned about how performance might transpire in the counterpart organisation.Therefore, the report should include:
1. A critically appraisal of the role of Strategic Project Management in terms of managing the new partnership including an evaluation of how to implement programme and portfolio management.
2. Critically analyse the importance of establishing appropriate governance arrangements in terms of establishing control mechanisms in the new partnership arrangement.
3. An evaluation on how performance management can be determined and its relationship with the success of the project.
4. Critically evaluate the potential for positive and negative conflict in the context of project global working and how this might be managed. How might it be a tool to improve performance?
Coursework Learning Outcomes: Presentation Format/Instructions:
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding by conducting a critical appraisal of an organisation’s project operations using the models, theories and principles of Strategic Project Management and to understand the importance of Strategy, Leadership and Governance to the successful delivery of projects.
Through further study and reflection, students are to demonstrate and expand knowledge of Project Strategy, Leadership and Governance.
Project Strategy, Leadership and Governance Sample Report
Organisations are always looking for new business opportunities, including partnerships both locally and internationally. In the global sphere, firms would use new strategic partnerships as paths to enter the global market and establish more business opportunities (Grundey & Daugėlaitė 2009). However, the success of these approaches will depend on how the company implements its entry strategy. The UK Digital Construction firm finds itself in this situation. The company has had an opportunity to engage in a new business partnership with the South African company. This is an opportunity for the UK company to showcase its prowess in the global market and build more business partnership in the country as well in the entire African content. For the UK company to achieve this, it should possess outstanding project management skills in new environments, and particularly in the global arena. As a strategic partner, the UK firm will be faced with several challenges and trends in the modern business environment that makes it difficult for the companies to maintain strategic trait as argued by (Bhullar 2018). The UK Firm can understand the global project management environment through studying and practice as reported by (Scott 2012). This means it should be prepared to acquire experience in managing global projects, and it should not be scared by the cost of bad judgement. The strategic approach that will be applied in the South African context should focus on delivering the best results by using the advanced company’s technology, but this should not prevent the firm from learning from its mistakes as they will contribute to crucial global experience.
Role of Strategic Project Management in Terms of Managing the New Partnership
Managing partnership projects pose a lot of challenges, forcing the project management team to establish ways to overcome the hurdles. The success of managing strategic projects in new partnership starts with the establishment of a clear foundation (Aarseth et al. 2013). The need to create a common foundation is supported by McCann et al. (2014) that the new partnership is founded by the team who have differences in expectations, communications and cultures. As such, there is a need to set a common ground before rushing to discuss the project goals. Fjermestad & Romano (2006) agrees that partnerships where members are from the same industry overlook the need to have a common foundation. This is because of the notion that they are in the same industry; hence reading on the same page. The creation of a common environment is fundamental and should not be overlooked since it might create tension and stress, affecting the achievement of the project goals (Fjermestad & Romano 2006). If UK Firm partnership with South African company skips this step, it might lead to confusions whereby the project team might receive conflicting guidance from the partner organisations.
The new partnership should focus on creating a common environment that will reduce confusions from the start. On how the daily operations should be undertaken should be part of the onset negotiations. The initial negotiations should be dominated by transparency to ensure that each company understands the other partner’s expectations. According to Bernstein (2014), the aspect of transparency in the partnership is essential since it promotes collaboration and trust. With trust and collaboration, the two firms will work out smoothly even when the leadership roles are rotated in the course of project execution. Partnerships are prone to disagreements, and the UK firm should be aware of this. For example, it is common for partners to differ on the decision. Therefore, the first negotiations should be flexible to accommodate the elements of adjustments in case they occur during project implementation.In developing a strong collaboration, both partners should consider several factors, including social connection, understand each other and empower the project team. These factors determine the nature of the relationship that parties should embrace in the partnership. The social connection will be important for the two firms in the partnerships due to the geographical and cultural constraints between the two companies. The United Kingdom culture is different from Africa culture, and this may result in mistrust. Therefore, the management teams from both side need to spend reasonable time building trust and friendship. Understanding each strength and motivation is also a paramount factor in relationship building. For example, the UK company seems more advanced and knowledgeable in constructions projects management than the South African firm. Therefore, the UK Firm should it make it to known to the partner that it possesses superior expertise. This means in specific areas of project execution; the UK firm team should lead in decision making but with the consultation with the South African Company. The partnership should also embrace investing in project team personnel to motivate them to deliver the best. However, this might not happen appropriately if the partners do not understand each other well. For example, the UK firm should understand that the South African firm has inferior technology, and it is supposed to invest in the South African company’s personnel to enable them to utilise its advanced technology. By doing this, the UK firm will bridge the gap between the two partners.
The negotiation, collaboration and relationship building roles of the project manager in the new partnership can be enhanced through Tuckman’s model of group development. The new partnership comprises of a group, and as such, the group should be undertaken through a process that will influence them to work together comfortably. According to Tuckman’s Model, the group can be developed through five stages: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning as illustrated in appendix one (Tuckman & Jensen, 2011). In the partnership context between the two companies, the first four stages will be the most appropriate. The adjourning phase is not recommended for the UK firm since it seeks to continue with the partnership as well as create more partnerships in the global space.
Forming: It will take place when the team from the two companies come together for the first time. The management from both companies will facilitate introductions, explain the project tasks and the goals of the projects.
Storming: This phase seeks to address the conflicts that might arise while the group is actively engaged in the project execution. The project manager will act as a go-between and solve the conflicts among the team members. This step is important since it is rare for partnership-based projects to move smoothly without conflicts.
Norming: The norming phase involves creating an environment for the team to develop shared group rules (norms) by sharing beliefs, thoughts and ideas (Tuckman & Jensen 2011). In this step, the project management team will help in clarifying the ground rules and encourage the team members to participate in the project execution.
Performing: The group starts to work as a team in this phase. The team gets actively involved in performing the set project tasks. The project management role at this phase will be to motivate the team to keep them on the right course of action.
Since the UK Firm will be executing the project in the new environment, it is important to develop a portfolio management process that will ensure project plans are executed effectively, and the goals will be attained efficiently. This report has suggested five steps that the UK Firm should follow in its portfolio management by consulting Smit (2017) study:
Evaluate the South African-based Project: The UK Firm needs complete information about the partnership project to establish the resources required and whether the partner company has such resources. This will be done to facilitate the transfer of resources such as technology before the kick-off of the project.
Establish how the Partnership Project Impacts the Company’s Strategy: The UK Firm anticipates entering the global market by creating partnerships with international companies like the South African company. The new partnerships put the UK Firm in a better position to enter the global market.
Assess the Value of the Project: Evaluating the value of the project economy-wise, and strategy-wise will be important in determining whether the company should proceed with the deal. The project might not be economically rewarding, but it might be an opportunity that the company should use to create international business partnerships. Therefore, UK firms should evaluate the two factors against the resources allocated.
Resource Allocation: The UK Firm will identify the resources that the partner company cannot offer and avail them to avoid potential conflicts and overlapping.
Adjust Project Portfolio Management: The portfolio management process might not go as planned due to possible changes during the project implementation. The UK Firm should not be rigid, and instead, it should revisit the process to evaluate whether it aligns with its strategy. The company should be ready for in-between changes even if it means at additional cost. This will be ideal for the UK Firm to create a good rapport with the new partner as well as other potential partners in the global environment.
Establishing Appropriate Governance Arrangements in New Partnership
Governance arrangements in partnerships agreements do not occur in a vacuum. They require the participation and commitment of the project partners. Whether formal or informal, partnership governance is crucial for controlling the actions of the partners and ensure that parties are acting in line with project goals and according to partnership agreement (Ansell & Gash 2007). Several models guide partnership governance arrangements. The model of collaborative governance developed by Ansell & Gash (2007) can be used to shape new partnership governance arrangements between the UK Firm and the South African company.
Source: (Ansell & Gash, 2007, p. 550 )
The model is based on four primary variables: starting conditions, institution design, leadership and collaboration (Ansell & Gash, 2007, p. 549).
Starting Conditions: At the start of the collaboration, both partners should agree on their degree of operations based on their capabilities. The starting conditions in the model aims at influencing the partners to execute their functions within the agreed-upon scope (Ansell and Gash 2007). The UK firm is endowed with more resources and is more powerful than the South African Company. This creates the need to have a governance arrangement on the arising power and resources imbalances. The power imbalance between the partners leads to detrimental problems within partnership agreements, which if not addressed appropriately, it might disrupt the achievement of the partnership goals (Warner 2006). Addressing the problem of power imbalance will create a comfortable environment where the South African company will not feel it is being taken advantage of by the UK Firm. This will encourage both partners to participate fully and in a meaningful way.
Facilitative Leadership: According to Gunton & Day (2003), leadership is an essential ingredient that brings parties together and prepares them for the collaborative process. In the new partnership context, facilitative leadership will be necessary to bring the two companies together and to encourage them to participate in a collaborative spirit. Effective leadership in the partnership will be ideal for solving partnership conflicts and controlling the operational processes. Vangen & Chris (2003) acknowledged that leadership set and maintains ground rules, influence the creation of trust and facilitates dialogue. As such, the leadership in the new partnership acts as one of the leading ingredients in the partnership governance since it will encourage collaboration and empower both parties to work together comfortably.
Institutional Design: The ground rules and protocols are needed for the successful partnership between the two companies. Using this element, the partnership should state clearly the scope of operation of each party, the level of engagement and who will be included in the partnership project.
Collaboration Process: This is the final element of the model of collaborative governance. It states the process of partnership which should be flexible to accommodate changes. This means the partnership governance framework adopted by two companies should be reviewed frequently and necessary changes incorporated.The model of collaborative governance advocates for effective leadership, trust, empowerment and transparency in the partnerships governance arrangements (Ansell & Gash 2007). As such, the Joint steering committee system with an advisory committee as argued by Simard & Laberge (2014) will be appropriate in shaping the partnership governance between the UK Firm and South African Company. This system has proved beneficial since it allows partners to focus on the strategic direction of the project goals (Murphy et al. 2017). It will also facilitate the centralisation of all project operations to a single body, hence increasing the degree of control. This is because resources allocation, financial management, execution, implementation and monitoring are all under one authority. The joint steering committee suits is the best because it will not address the interests of the partners only but also that of other stakeholders through the representation of the advisory committee.
Performance Management Determination and Relationship with Project Success
Project performance management has been defined as the process of managing created and implemented projects to contribute positively to the performance of the organisation and its strategy (Jackson 2020). Appendix two illustrates the elements of project management. Project performance management can be well-executed by following the six steps as illustrated from the figure below, which was obtained from Jackson (2020) discussion.
Source: (Jackson, 2020)
The project performance management determination is required to measure the results and the success of the project. The new partnership project performance should be measured quarterly to assess effectiveness in meeting the company’s strategic goals. The review will give the project manager a chance to evaluate how effective the resources have been used in alignment with the organisation’s strategic goals. This will also be the time for the project team to evaluate whether the project is on the right course of action. Using the table below, the UK Firm to review every phase of the project and establish how well it aligns the target objectives.
Source: (Jackson, 2020)
Using the alignment to strategic organisation goals measurement, the UK Firm will determine the efficiency of the project in increasing the chances of the company to create a new partnership in the global market. This will be achieved by assessing whether the project has been done right. This metric should be determined by surveying the project management professionals, executives and business unit managers as argued by (CBP, 2016). The UK Firm will rate the respondents’ statements using the Likert scale to establish the level of performance towards meeting the company’s strategic objectives.
The success of the new partnership project will depend on the benefits that the project will achieve. For example, by meeting the strategic goals of the UK Firm will be an indication that the project was successful. However, success should not only be perceived as successful from the view of meeting business goals. The aspect of profitability should also be considered. According to CBP (2016), organisations that align the project to their business strategies appropriately stands a high chance of reaching their goals. Meeting the strategic goals of the new partnership project means more profits in future for the UK Firm.
Potential Positive and Negative Conflict in the Context of Project Global Working
Cameron & Whetten (2007) argued that global projects might have both positive and negative conflicts that affect project success. The authors presented three types of conflicts: process conflicts, task-related conflicts and interpersonal conflicts (Prieto-Remón et al. 2014). Process conflicts occur when there are disagreements on how to execute the project in line with the target goals. The task-related conflicts result from partners disagreeing on the requirements, scope and priority of the project. Interpersonal conflicts are as a result of relationship issues among the project team members. The negative effects of conflict include time-consuming, wastage of resources, decrease in productivity, a distraction from the primary purpose of the project and might lead to project failure. The positive effects of conflict as presented by Mahalingam & Lewitt (2007) consist of facilitating social change, understanding the importance sharing and respecting each other opinion, inspiring creativity, encouraging group cooperation and unity, facilitating decision making and reconciliation.
Several studies have voted for five modes of conflict resolution: confronting, compromising, smoothing forcing and avoiding as the most effective when used in the project management context (Ohlendorf 2001). Given the nature of the partnership and the strategic goals, which UK firm wishes to accomplish the first three modes: confronting compromising and smoothing will be the most appropriate when used to solve the conflicts. All three approaches will lead to a win-win situation and leave both parties satisfied. Confronting approach aims at solving the problem through integration and collaboration. The compromising method avails a platform for the conflict parties to negotiate to arrive at a mutual solution. The smoothing approach will be applied by downplaying the areas of disagreements and maximising on the areas of agreement.
The conflicts within the global project have importance and value in shaping the success and performance of the project. Mahalingam & Lewitt (2007) noted that the positive effects of conflict influence the project performance. The two authors asserted that conflict increase group cohesiveness and performance, encourage innovation and creativity, improve communication and stimulate change. With these positive outcomes, conflict becomes a tool for enhancing project performance.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The primary goal of the UK firm is to meet its strategic goals of expanding its operations globally. The achievement of these goals lies in how successfully the organisation will manage the new partnership. The project management of the UK firm must create collaboration for the smooth execution and implementation of the partnership project. The Joint Committee with the advisory committee will be required to help in the governance of the project. Performance management will be ideal in determining the success of the project, and this will be confirmed if the project meets the company’s strategic goals. The conflicts should be well managed, and in case they occur, they should be used as lessons to improve the project performance.
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