Ways to Manage a Publishing Project

There are many different approaches which a publisher might take to managing a project
These variations can be in terms of where emphasis might be put by a manager, the leadership style that is used, or even the mechanics of how a project is organised and conducted

A project management office might be either a “supportive”, “controlling” or “directive” office

Traditional Project Management
This approach is driven almost entirely by the opinion of the project owners. Public opinion is a side issue; and for projects that are not controversial; thie traditional approach can work well. The key areas of concern for traditional project management are:
• The Project
• The Actions Required to Complete the project
• The Players –people and oreganisations involved

The Supportive Project Management Office
This provides all of the resources that staff may need, on demand. A project manager who works with the support of this type of office, has full control of the project which they manage. The office is simply there to support the manager.
A manager who is empowered in this way can be far more motivated, but there can also be an increased the risk of  power being abused.

The Controlling Office
This office is designed and run with a goal of minimising costs and controlling excessive use of resources. The project manager still has a degree of freedom; but the head office will be monitoring progress, controlling the availability of resources, and continually making adjustments to the directives which the manager needs to follow.

The Directive Office
This office takes full control of the project. The project manager may be the “face” that people in the field see as managing the project; but the head office is telling that manager what to do and what to say.

The Straightforward Project
Some projects are very straightforward. The stakeholders (or clients) will have a clear understanding of what they want, and the project manager will have an obvious, even predictable, path to follow.

The Complex Project
Complex projects can have varying degrees of complexity. For some, the goal may be clear, but the way to achieve that goal might not be certain; while for others, the steps that need to be followed may be predetermined, but the end goal might not me clearly specified in any detail.

The Evolutionary Project
This is a project which can change (evolve) as the project moves forward. While the project may commence with a particular goal and methodology in mind; the stakeholders may well be aware from the beginning that the goal and methods of achieving the goal could need to be modified according to how the project develops.

Lateral Project Management
(based upon work of Oliver d’Herbemont and Bruno Cesar)
This is a more flexible approach, that seeks to identify and involve supporters of a project, and in doing so, cause the support to grow naturally.
3 key principles:
• People are too fast to label friends as enemies when they oppose a project
• Managers tend to have a stereotypical self image that they are at war with the world
• Managers frequently equate delegating work with reducing control; hence they try to do too much themselves and weaken their effectiveness as a leader.
A lateral project management approach will have eight areas of concern:
• The Project
• The Actions Required to Complete the project
• The Players –people and oreganisations involved
• Sensitive issues
• Segmenting interested parties
• Sociodynamics of anyone working on or affected by the project
• Lateralising the Project
• Indentifying faults in the belaviour of anyone involved

Understanding the Interested Parties.
In any project, there will be a number of different interested parties. (eg Project owner, investors, employees, unions, neighbours, lobbyists, government)
It is valuable to realize that these parties are made up of individuals, not groups. Even if some are connected into a group; those group members are all individuals, and as a project manager; you have more possibilities of dealing with them when you see them as individuals rather than groups.
There can be a tendency for people to become involved with a project as a result of inertia rather than and real logic. To best manage interested parties, you need to first understand them; and then be able to diffuse any imbalance in power that develops.
People with strong personalities can dominate others and have an influence that is out of proportion . One way of diffusing such situations is to find, engage and empower other people who may have an equal claim to input.

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