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Empowering Stakeholders: The Power of Self-Managed Projects in Project Management

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

In the dynamic landscape of project management, the conventional role of a project manager as the sole orchestrator of every project has started to give way to a more empowering approach – one that encourages employees and stakeholders to take the reins of their projects. This shift from micromanagement to self-management has proven to be a game-changer in fostering active involvement, heightened commitment, seamless progress, and enhanced teamwork, demonstrating the power of self-managed projects. In this article, we explore the merits of empowering employees and stakeholders to manage their own projects, shedding light on why this approach holds the key to a more successful and harmonious project ecosystem.


Active Stakeholder Engagement and

Ownership

One of the cardinal advantages of empowering stakeholders to manage their projects is the remarkable increase in their engagement and sense of ownership. When individuals have direct control over the projects they are invested in, they are more likely to be deeply engaged in the project's progress and outcome. This ownership leads to a heightened sense of responsibility and a vested interest in achieving the project's goals. Stakeholders become more proactive, taking initiative to ensure timely updates, effective communication, and efficient problem-solving.


Enhanced Project Commitment and Care

Projects that are managed by the stakeholders themselves are treated with a higher level of care and commitment. Unlike the traditional model where a project manager solely shoulders the responsibility, involving stakeholders directly ensures that they are attuned to the project's intricacies. This active participation transforms stakeholders from passive observers into proactive contributors, working collaboratively towards project success. This heightened commitment translates to a more driven workforce that actively seeks out solutions and opportunities for improvement.


Continuous Project Progress

Empowering stakeholders with the responsibility of managing their projects also ensures that projects progress consistently. Since stakeholders are directly accountable for their project's advancement, there is a built-in mechanism for regular updates and course corrections. This eliminates the bottleneck often associated with waiting for project manager approvals or decisions. Consequently, projects are less likely to stall, and the overall project timeline becomes more predictable and manageable.



Focusing Project Managers on Critical Areas

Shifting the responsibility of day-to-day project management to stakeholders enables project managers to focus their attention where it matters most – on critical areas that require intervention. Rather than being consumed by routine oversight, project managers can concentrate on identifying projects at risk, those running behind schedule, or those with dissatisfied stakeholders. This reallocation of resources enables project managers to channel their expertise strategically, ensuring that projects receive the required support when they need it the most.


Achieving Buy-In, Training, and Authority

For this shift to self-management to be effective, certain prerequisites must be met. Stakeholders need to be provided with proper training, support, and the authority necessary to manage their projects. This buy-in requires a cultural shift within the organization, fostering an environment of trust, collaboration, and empowerment. By investing in training programs and creating an atmosphere that values proactive involvement, organizations can prepare stakeholders to take on this newfound responsibility confidently.


Scalability and Collaborative Excellence

One of the most significant advantages of empowering stakeholders to manage their projects is scalability. As the organization grows and takes on more projects, this approach becomes more sustainable than having a limited number of project managers oversee everything. Each stakeholder becomes a mini-project manager, enabling the organization to handle multiple projects simultaneously without compromising quality or progress. Furthermore, this approach nurtures a culture of collaboration, where stakeholders and employees actively communicate, share insights, and contribute their expertise for the betterment of the entire team.


Conclusion

In the realm of project management, the paradigm of empowering stakeholders and employees to manage their projects has ushered in a new era of engagement, commitment, progress, and teamwork. This approach acknowledges the unique perspectives and expertise that stakeholders bring to the table, while also allowing project managers to focus on strategic areas that demand their attention. By providing training, support, and authority, organizations can foster a culture of proactive involvement and collaboration that results in projects that are not only well-managed but also excel in their outcomes. This shift from micromanagement to self-management is more than a strategy; it's a transformative philosophy that paves the way for a brighter future in project management.


About the Author

Chris Shemza, Process Improvement Specialist

Chris Shemza is a seasoned multi-disciplinary project management and process improvement specialist with over 16 years of experience. With his experience as a creative services account executive with a background in agency work, Chris brings a unique blend of creative thinking and technical expertise to the table.

Throughout his career, Chris has honed a diverse set of skills, encompassing both soft skills and hard skills for effective team leadership and technical abilities, including robotic process automation to drive efficiency and speed at companies such as Petco, West Coast University QuidelOrtho and more. With a track record of successful client retention, Chris is known for handling complex projects and implementing process improvements, particularly in marketing, creative, digital, internet, packaging, and print industries.

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