BOOK (2011)

"Leadership Principles for Project Success"

Filled with samples, templates, and guidelines that readers can immediately use in their projects,this practical guide covers the five principles of effective project leadership and how they can be applied in daily project work.

Based on experience in project management and the literature on leadership, project management, business, systems, and complexity theory, the five leadership principles include building vision, nurturing collaboration, promoting performance, cultivating learning, and ensuring results. The book explains these principles in simple, nontechnical language and shows how they can set up, manage, and align projects for success.

"Thomas Juli's book, 'Leadership Principles for Project Success' contains many helpful suggestions for creating ‘Wow Projects’: i.e. projects that surprise and delight their clients."

Stephen Denning, Author of "The Leader's Guide to Radical Management" and "The Secret Language of Leadership"
  • Explains the principles encompassing the core of effective leadership and shows how to apply them to everyday projects
  • Discusses setting up, managing, and aligning projects to meet business needs
  • Illustrates how project leadership works through numerous real-world case studies
  • Describes how to rescue projects in trouble and close them successfully
  • Includes many samples, templates, and practical guidelines that readers can immediately use in their projects

01. The World of Projects

Part I The Project Leadership Pyramid

02. Introducing the Project Leadership Pyramid
03. Principle 1: Build Vision
04. Principle 2: Nurture Collaboration
05. Principle 3: Promote Performance
06. Principle 4: Cultivate Learning
07. Principle 5: Ensure Results
08. The Dynamic Pyramid

Part II The Project Leadership Pyramid In Practice

09. Practicing the Principles
10. Project Initiation and Set-Up
11. Project Execution
12. Projects in Trouble
13. Closing a Project
14. Summary

Part III The Personal Leadership Pyramid

15. How to Become an Effective Project Leader

Part IV Appendices

Appendix A – Vision Document
Appendix B – Scope Matrix
Appendix C – Sample Scope Schedule
Appendix D – Scope Document
Appendix E – Virtual Team Room
Appendix F – Weekly Status Report

Part V Bibliography

Part VI Index

Why Did I pick the picture of a team on a mountain summit for the book cover?

Project success is like a journey to a final destination. We can compare it with an expedition or tour. Take the image here of a mountain guide showing the path to the summit of the mountain.

coverYou can see the path in front of the guide. The planned route is marked on a map and maybe you can see it in the distance. To get to the summit you need to be in a good physical shape and carry the right tools with you. Depending on how experienced you are, you may need the help of others to reach the summit or you may offer your assistance to other members of the expedition. If you have ever hiked a mountain you know that arriving at the summit is certainly the climax of your trip. But it is not the only thing that matters. The ascent to and descent from the summit are just as important. And just as joyful.

Reaching the summit may be the driver of the mountain tour. If, however, this is the only thing you focus on, chances are that you will fail along the way and never reach the summit. Hiking through nature, you are exposed to the natural elements and must react to changing environments. You may have a plan that has proven to be reliable in the past. However, at times you may have to change your track. You may need to take a detour or decide to turn back to the base camp and try to reach the summit at a later time or maybe not at all. Good, experienced tour guides know this. They take on the responsibility for their whole group. They want the group to safely reach the summit and return to the base. It is not about the performance of individuals, who may be highly skilled and experienced mountaineers. The mission is to reach the top together and return home safely.

This is why the picture I chose for the book cover includes a group of people rather than a single individual reaching the summit of a mountain. A mountain tour is, just like a project, a team effort.

The book includes a number of templates you can immediately use in your project environment.  Namely:

  • sturm1a project vision document,
  • a scope matrix,
  • a sample scope schedule,
  • a scope document,
  • a virtual team room, and
  • a status report


“I love this book. Thomas takes what could be a tedious and laborious subject and makes it fun and interesting to read with a conversational and story-like writing style full of anecdotal examples. This is a real-world book for practitioners. Thomas demonstrates exceptional insight, perspective, experience—and he really gets it. “It” is his five leadership principles that are essential for shared project success where all stakeholders cross the finish line together and are enriched by the journey. "Leadership Principles for Project Success" is on my short list of recommended readings and references for an effective leader’s toolbox.”

Neal Whitten, PMP, best selling project management author, speaker, consultant, trainer, mentor

"This book is a great resource for not only projects, but for success in life in general. Start everything of importance with a clear vision and you will end with success".

Lee Cockerell, Former Executive Vice President, Walt Disney World Resort and author "Creating Magic...10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney"

"Thomas Juli has done a superb job bringing together a practical guide to project management.   Through real-world examples, he has created an essential step-by-step reference for the professional project manager. This book will make a valuable addition to any project manager's toolkit."

Robert Urwiler, CIO, Vail Resorts Inc.

'Leadership Principles for Project Success' is a great companion to my project management (as opposed to leadership) books. I especially like the five principles and their graphic presentation as a pyramid. This makes them much easier to internalize and apply. A very practical book.

Dr. Gregory T Haugan, PMP, bestselling author of Breakdown Structures for Projects, Programs and Enterprises (Management Concepts 2008), Project Management Fundamentals: Key Concepts and Methodology (Management Concepts, 2006), and Project Planning and Scheduling (Management Concepts, 2002)

"Great project managers understand the need to not only manage their projects but also the benefit of leading these projects, which is not the same thing. In The Lazy Project Manager I articulate the strength of being a good project leader by combining intelligence with smarter working.
Those that combine these skills make, in my view, the best project leaders; and therefore the best project managers.
Thomas Juli; in his book Leadership Principles for Project Success, takes you on a journey deeper in to this insight and provides the reader with an excellent range of tools and advice to elevate your project role from manager to leader."

Peter Taylor is an accomplished leader and is a professional speaker as well as the author of ‘The Lazy Project Manager

“When I was doing projects at HP and now as a consultant and speaker, I find people hunger for good leaders and for easy to understand examples of how to be a good leader.  Thomas Juli comes across in person as capable in both areas.  Now in ‘Leadership Principles for Project Success,’ he contributes a simple yet powerful model, along with personal stories, that motivate and guide people along a path to greater project success.”

Randall L. Englund, co-author of Creating an Environment for Successful Project, Creating the Project Office, and Project Sponsorship

"Thomas Juli has drawn on his substantial experience in project management to show the way to success. It is refreshing that, rather than emphasizing the role of any single project member, Juli shows the importance of developing an effectively working team."

Dr. Murray Weidenbaum, Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor, founder and honorary chairman of the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy at Washington University in St. Louis, former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan (1981-1982)

"Thomas Juli's book, 'Leadership Principles for Project Success' contains many helpful suggestions for creating ‘Wow Projects’: i.e. projects that surprise and delight their clients."

Stephen Denning, Author of "The Leader's Guide to Radical Management" and "The Secret Language of Leadership"

"The intersection of leadership and project management is increasingly being recognized as critical to project success. The PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition addresses this in an appendix, the new U.S. Government Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Management includes this as a core competency, and now, Dr. Thomas Juli, gives this intersection the level of attention it deserves in his thoroughly written and compelling book. He provides the reader with solid leadership concepts that are supported with a clear understanding of how to apply them specifically in the project environment."

Michael O'Brochta, PMP, President, Zozer, Inc.

“This book offers an interesting and pragmatic perspective on project leadership since it links the leadership concept, that is a typical soft skill, to a more technical dimension, the project life cycle. This is aligned with the more recent project mamagement literature that proposes the integration of the hard and soft skill dimensions that are the two sides of the same coin: the project success.”

Dr. Marco Sampietro, Professor at SDA Bocconi, Italy

“In his new book 'Leadership Principles for Project Success', Thomas Juli reveals effective project leadership as a major success factor for good project management practice. The reader benefits from the author's holistic view on the topic and many hands-on suggestions that professionals can easily put into practice througout the entire project lifecycle.”

Peter Miez-Mangold, PMP, President PMI Frankfurt Chapter, Managing Director STS Deutschland

“’Leadership Principles for Project Success’ by Dr. Thomas Juli, discusses the key principles for success.  In reading his book, I was particularly impressed with his discussion of the importance of the vision for each project, and it is at the top of his Leadership Pyramid.  While every project has a vision, for success, Dr. Juli explains the project manager and team must ensure they have the same view of the vision and know what must be done to not only deliver the products, services, and results but also to ensure the project’s benefits also are achieved.  His practical examples and templates enhance the quality of this exceptional book.”

Dr. Ginger Levin, PMP, PGMP. Project Management Consultant and Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-Platteville

“I found your material very useful and practical. I really agree about your emphasis on team members importance, and their attitude for project success. I can perceive your enthusiasm and focus on people from your ideas and examples on your book. I believe you defend important key points that remark that people really matters for project success. In a worldwide situation of managing wrong projects your book will help project practitioners to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All my professional life I needed to visualize my project success first, and that helped me to move forward. It was my courage generator. You will be as you think about it. I asked to different project managers in Europe (professionals from The UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Poland, Russia, Rumania, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland, Norway) why they believed that were successful project managers. Their answers were very homogeneous, they said they had a clear idea about they wanted, they had clear expectations. So they immediately generated some ideas to move forward.”

Alfonso Bucero, founder and managing partner of BUCERO PM Consulting, President of PMI Madrid Spain Chapter, author of Today is a Good Day! Attitudes for Achieving Project Success (Multi-Media Publications, 2010), co-author of Project Sponsorship: Achieving Management Commitment for Project Success(Jossey-Bass, 2006)

“n his book ‘Leadership Principles for Project Success’ Thomas Juli offers practical framework to project leadership which is a critical aspect of projects in today’s fast pacing business world. Thomas’ book is a valuable guide that covers all important areas and factors necessary to successfully lead projects. The author bridges the gap between traditional project management practices and modern concepts like agile and virtual teams.”

Stanislav Yankiev, PMP, founder of Semanit

“Thomas Juli’s new book `Leadership Principles for Project Success` provides the reader with his comprehensive insight into leadership and its importance for project success. His hands-on style is refreshing and takes the reader along a journey of easy to apply but effective leadership and team working principles. Leadership and working teams are now given the level of attention they deserve, independent from a particular approach to project management.”

Robert Misch, ScrumMaster

Practice leadership in your role, and thus contribute to project success. It may be difficult at times. But it is possible. Every journey, regardless of how long it may be, starts with the first step. Take this step and move forward.

The 5 Principles of Effective Leadership

Project success is the safe journey from project vision to final project results. Understanding and applying the following 5 leadership principles for project success helps secure a safe and successful project journey which ultimately delivers the project vision:
Learn to apply the 5 principles of effective leadership to set-up, manage, and align your project for success.

These five principles are not limited to the role of the project manager or project leader. Indeed, you can apply the five principles of effective leadership in any role you fill on a project, whether as the official project sponsor, project manager, team member, external consultant, project auditor, or any other project role.

Practice leadership in your role, and thus contribute to project success. It may be difficult at times. But it is possible. Every journey, regardless of how long it may be, starts with the first step. Take this step and move forward.

1. Build Vision

Sharing a common vision and goals with your team and organization and having the same understanding how to achieve it are key factors for project success.

2. Nurture Collaboration

A performing team yields synergy effects; the impossible becomes possible. This is why team building is crucial.

3. Promote Performance

Both on the individual and team level. Inspire and benefit from team magic.

4. Cultivate Learning

Effective leaders are open for receiving and giving feedback. It requires courage to explore new avenues and to make mistakes and to learn from them.

5. Ensure Results

Delivering results is both a prerequisite and an outcome of effective leadership.

The Project Leadership Pyramid

Together, the five leadership principles build the Project Leadership Pyramid.

The principle at the top of this pyramid is the first principle (build vision), followed by nurture collaboration, promote performance, cultivate learning, and, at the base of the pyramid, ensure results.

The pyramid is a powerful image. I use this image for a simple reason: Although I think building vision is probably the most important principle of effective leadership, the bottom line most people see or want to see is results. Thus vision is at the top and results at the foundation of the pyramid. Collaboration, performance, and learning are necessary building blocks of the pyramid. They are framed by vision and results.

Visually speaking, when you approach a pyramid from a far distance, you first see the top. In our case, vision is at the top of the pyramid. As you get closer, you see more of the pyramid until at last you are standing in front of the first row of the building blocks (results). Looking upward, you may feel overwhelmed by the size of the pyramid. It may not even be possible to see the top of the pyramid (vision). Alas, you know that it exists. It was the first thing that you could see and what caught your attention. It guided you all the way to the base of the pyramid. If you now want to understand the secrets of the pyramid, you have to go inside. You have to explore the pyramid. This book explains the structure of the project leadership pyramid and reveals the secrets inside.

Selection of related presentations & seminars

Title of presentation: „The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success „and how they can help build and manage a performing and winning team.

A handout of the presentation is available here; follow this link for an article / whitepaper on the 5 team leadership principles for project success.  Last but not least you may be interested in a past presentation on the same topic I gave at the NASA Project Management Challenge 2011.  That presentation is available on Slideshare.

I was honored to give 2 presentations.  My first presentation was entitled „The 5 Team Leadership Principles for Project Success“, my second one „The Learning Project Organization“.  Have a look at my 3 blog posts on the Congress in Dallas.  It includes both of my papers and articles as well as key take-aways from this conference.

I presented my insights on „It Takes a Team to Re-Align a Project:  Lessons from Rescue Missions“ at the 2009 PMI Global Congress. The official synopsis as well as the article and presentation are available for download.

I conducted two 3-hour sessions entitled „Yes We Can:  Team Building as a Means to Re-Align a Project“.
Content:  Project recovery missions are probably one of the most difficult challenges a project manager may face. Alone a project manager cannot handle such a situation. It takes a team to do so. The workshop will show why and how team building can be an effective and efficient mean to re-align projects gone astray.The presentation  can be  viewed and downloaded here.

Impressions of the 2 workshops can be viewed in my online photo album.

I conducted a workshop “Realigning Project Objectives and Stakeholders’ Expectations in a Project Behind Schedule”.  The article on which this workshop is based as well as the presentation are available for download.