Trillium Insights

Thoughts and Insights from Trillium's Practice Leaders

Project Leadership: Investing in Experience

What’s in a name? “Project leader” and “project manager” are too often used as generic and interchangeable titles, but understanding the distinct roles of these two unique functions can make a big difference when it comes to getting the best results in terms of project quality, cost, risk, and return on investment.

Poor leadership and lack of project management best practices are among the leading causes of project failure. Yet many organizations remain cautious in expanding their budgets to engage experienced and mor expensive project leadership resources. In reality, deciding who should be added to the team for a new product launch or business process improvement project should be based more on proven experience rather than cost. The extra expenditures for project rework and lost investments in failed projects are often the side effects of “hiring low” or bringing in less experienced and cheaper resources on critical initiatives.

What organizations may not realize is that an initial higher investment in an experienced project leader at the start of the project is usually far less than what they would spend on rework or lose on projects that linger on and never get completed. Paying a premium for a project leader who can get it right the first time is ultimately worth it.

This white paper will explore the advantages of a project leader/consultant model versus staff augmentation. It will define the project leader and project manager roles and discuss the differences and similarities between them. It will also explore the key project scenarios for which project leaders should be engaged and the risk factors that can be mitigated. The white paper will conclude with guidelines for selecting a best-in-class project leader and a real-world example of how project leadership delivers benefits.

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