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Mastering the Leadership Role in Project Management: Practices that Deliver Remarkable Results

By Alexander Laufer

Published by FT Press

Published Date: Apr 23, 2012


In this book, project management expert Dr. Alexander Laufer leads an all-star team of practitioners and thought leaders in presenting a powerful project leadership framework. Laufer’s framework addresses the toughest challenges of new product development: large, complex projects composed of many diverse, geographically distributed, and highly interdependent components; organizational change; and repeated and risky tasks. Laufer reveals core leadership principles that are crucial to successful project leadership in dynamic and complex environments, regardless of industry, project goals, or stakeholders. Then, together with his contributors, he presents eight chapter-length case studies covering exceptionally challenging projects in a wide spectrum of industries and products – from developing missiles to reorganizing companies, building spacecraft and dairy plants to flying solar-powered airplanes. Readers will discover new ways to unleash the power of autonomy and learning; adapt to change on a timely basis; “give up” control without “losing” control; use face-to-face interaction to maximize alignment; manage “no fun” missions in hostile environments; deliver on bold ideas through sheer preparation; learn from practice – and unlearn lessons that need to be unlearned. Mastering the Leadership Role in Project Management will be invaluable to executives, project leaders, and aspiring project leaders in all organizations – regardless of their project goals, backgrounds, or experience.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Larry Prusak     xi
Introduction: Learning from the Best Practitioners     1
Alexander Laufer
Chapter 1: Developing a Missile: The Power of Autonomy and Learning     19
Alexander Laufer, Dan Ward, Alistair Cockburn
Chapter 2: Building of Memory: Managing Creativity Through Action     51
Alexander Laufer, Zvi Ziklik, Jeffrey Russell
Chapter 3: Flying Solar-Powered Airplanes: Soaring High on Spirit and Systems     71
Alexander Laufer, Edward Hoffman, Don Cohen  
Chapter 4: Transferring Harbor Cranes: Delivering A Bold Idea Through Meticulous Preparations and Quick Responsiveness     103
Alexander Laufer, Zvi Ziklik, Jeffrey Russell
Chapter 5: A Successful Downsizing: Developing a Culture of Trust and Responsibility     125
Alexander Laufer, Dan Ward, Alistair Cockburn
Chapter 6: A Peaceful Evacuation: Building A Multi-Project Battalion by Leading Upward     149
Alexander Laufer, Zvi Ziklik, Dora Cohenca-Zall
Chapter 7: Exploring Space: Shaping Culture by Exploiting Location     171
Alexander Laufer, Edward Hoffman, Don Cohen
Chapter 8: Building a Dairy Plant: Accelerating Speed by Splitting and Harmonizing      193
Alexander Laufer, Jeffrey Russell, Dora Cohenca-Zall
Epilogue: Practices for Project Leadership     213
Alexander Laufer
Index     239