In its basic form, leading is motivating people to achieve the goals and objectives of a project by:

Providing a vision

■ Communicating

■ Maintaining direction

■ Motivating

■ Being supportive

Leading actually occurs throughout the life cycle of a project. It is required during planning, organizing, and controlling.

Providing a Vision Without a vision, a KM project is heading for disaster. A vision is a description of what will be in the future. It gives a sense of purpose and direction. The SOW provides the basis for generating a vision because it describes the final result of the project. The challenge for developing a vision and keeping people focused on it is a particular challenge to KM projects. Knowledge management in general is a vague concept, and the description of the elements in a KM system can be difficult due to the changing, multifaceted technology it involves and the business environment in which it finds itself.

Communicating The best vision and plans mean little if no one knows about their existence and any changes to them. Project managers are at the hub of a KM project, thereby serving as the communications center for a project. Their use of tools, such as the project manual and status review meetings, enable and enhance communicating. However, good communication must be ongoing and widespread to prove useful.

On a KM project, communication is absolutely critical. The involvement of many specialized disciplines and representatives from various organizations necessitate that communication continues. Otherwise, project failure is inevitable because the opportunities for operating "in the dark" and going in different directions increase. Everyone must follow the same vision and plan.

Motivating People on a project must be emotionally committed to the vision of the project or they will not provide a significant contribution. It becomes even more important, especially in a matrix environment, because the project manager lacks any functional control over people. The difficulty in motivating is further complicated by the subject matter. Project managers on KM projects, therefore, must continually keep the fire burning among their team members.

Being Supportive KM projects require extensive coordination when using tools and applying knowledge. These projects face many obstacles that can impede project success — from obtaining hard-to-find software to political interference. Leadership necessitates supporting the team's needs to achieve success. Because KM projects are by nature lengthy and complex undertakings, project managers must facilitate task execution.

Building a Team Atmosphere As the complexity of projects increases, so does participation in the number of disciplines and people. KM projects are no exception. An effort is required not just to assemble specialists, but also to encourage commitment toward cooperation in achieving the vision. Project team, sponsor, and customer must work together and have ownership in the project's outcome.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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