itmWEB Research

An itmWEB Classic Whitepaper

Management Excellence: Adjust the Size of your Thinking

Focus Area: Project Management for Systems Development

Author: Russ Finney

Year: 2004

Belief is a powerful force. It is an essential component of successful systems development projects. What some system builders fail to realize, however, is that belief is a result of a conscience decision. The team leader must decide that the system will indeed exist, instill this belief in his or her heart, and then transfer the feeling to the other members of the team.

No matter what obstacles may arise during the course of the effort, the team leader can never violate this personal belief, no matter how tempting it may be. This requires discipline. He or she must continually emphasize that any roadblocks which may occur are to be expected, and that they are a natural part of reaching the end result. The unwavering commitment to this belief and trust serves to support the team in producing the creative thinking, the complex problem solving, the devotion to quality, and the long hours which are all necessary ingredients to see the project through to implementation!

The Small Thinking Manager

  • Still believes that knowledge is power.
  • Manages at an excruciating level of detail.
  • Invents the development approach one day at a time in order to maintain control.
  • Collects and nurtures excuses as "failure insurance".
  • Avoids making commitments.
  • Feels threatened by innovation.
  • Does not tolerate criticism.
  • Must be the source of all original thinking.
  • Views people in terms of their weaknesses and anticipated failures.
  • Ignores problems and issues.
  • Frequently matches wits with the business clients and the project sponsors.
  • Views the system as an interesting technical problem.

The Big Thinking Manager

  • Continuously visualizes the final working system.
  • Does not allow excuses get in the way of results.
  • Defines the desired future state, then focuses all of his or her energy toward achieving that state.
  • Views people in terms of their strengths and expected contributions.
  • Embraces innovation.
  • Expects to be wrong often, and demands that the team challenge invalid assumptions.
  • Communicates long-term approach steps and objectives.
  • Sees problems and issues as an opportunity to get the system right.
  • Views the system as an strategic business solution.