Yesterday I received photos from last week’s project management conference in Athens.

A project management conference and I am talking about mountains?  True.  The reason is simple: I am comparing a project to a mountain tour where the mission of the team is to reach the summit and return home safely.  In this analogy project success is not limited to reaching the summit or returning home safely.  Project success is not limited to results or milestones.  What matters too is the process to the deliveries, the journey, the experience.

For, if final results are all that matter this may as well justify death march projects where team members work long hours, where team morale is low, where team members were so glad when the project was over because it was a miserable time and they would never come back.  Unfortunately, in a lot of businesses project results are the only thing that matters.  People don’t matter.  Well, this is not my philosophy for I believe it is a dead end street.

Successful project management and leadership is holistic and accounts for the human needs as they relate to the project needs.  It helps create the right context and environment for high-perfomring teams.

Using the analogy of the mountain tour, the effective project manager and project leaders is the experienced mountain guide who takes the whole team as one unit to the summit and return it home safely AND helps create the right atmosphere and environment for a performing team to evolve.  Who do you want to be?