Effective project management or its leadership requires a combination of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. In other words, a successful project requires that project managers not only manage projects, but also lead people. (Anderson, 2010) However, sometimes project achieved individual success but many elements lead to aggregate failure in real life. The case study of the National Centre for Popular Music (NCPM) in Sheffield illustrates that flawed leadership lead to failure of project, although it achieved success in some extent. The NCPM acquired lottery grants successfully and became a high profile capital project soon.And the NCPM was the first place to combine museum and high-tech machine for music industry around the world. However, it was quickly closed after only 17 months of operation.
(Kam, 2004) The main reasons of the NCPM’s failure are as follow: One is the defective business plan in the early planning stage, including the flawed market research and feasibility, the targeting niche market concept and choice of an unsuitable location; the other is misconduct and wrong implementation in the later stage, such as inexperience and dereliction of the leadership and lack of collaboration with local institutions. Based on the case, it is obvious that project leadership is important for a project, and the flawed leadership of the NCPM caused whole project demised, whatever how many success it achieved in other aspects.The BBC’s management of three major estate projects The BBC is running three estate projects, namely Broadcasting House, Pacific Quay and Salford Quays. The completion of the first phase of Broadcasting House was delayed by a year and costs were significantly higher than expected. The Pacific Quay project was delivered on time and within budget and the work on Salford Quays is going according to the time plan set and even better, however, some cost increase is predicted.
The National Audit Office (NAO) suggests that good practice was not followed because costs, benefits and risks were not considered at approval. The BBC changed the already unclear scope of the project during completion, controlling and managing change was week, benefits were not identified therefore it is not possible to measure whether benefits were achieved, skills required were not identified, contingency at the Broadcasting House was not sufficient and it was not in connection with the risk assessment. At Pacific Quay, contingency unspent “was used to fund expenditure that was not included in the original project scope” (National Audit Office, 2010, pp.5).The BBC implemented changes and “developed a standard approach to defining project roles and responsibilities, improved the content and regulatory of project reviews, strengthened risk management and implemented a stricter change control process” (ibid, 2010, pp.
5). Recognizing and getting the skills needed for the project also increased in importance (ibid, 2010). The case study shows that as suggested by Papke-Shields et al (2009), project scope, time frame and cost analyses was used, although not always efficiently and not as it was recommended by best practice. Contingencies, risk management and controlling were also used, even though some authors suggest these are the least used practices (ibid, 2009).
ConclusionThe report discussed leadership theories, project leadership and best practices through the views of academics and project management bodies. From the above discussion, it can be established that theories exist about leadership can be related to project leadership to an extent, although the influence of leadership on project success is still debated and no clear conclusions have been made yet. Professional project management bodies, such as the APM and the PMI, however both emphasise the importance of project leadership for project success.The case studies highlight the use of project management practices in real life projects. Although many aspects of project management are used, they are not in compliance with best practices recommended by academics and industry organisations.
The case studies do not suggest directly that project leadership is important in order to achieve success, rather they highlight the way recommended best practices are used as well as suggest that best practices should be followed in order to achieve project success . In the dynamic world of project management, best practices should be emphasized more and good examples should be followed in order to avoid wasting valuable resources and time.