3 ways project leadership will evolve in 2019

Project leaders need to lead the charge as quality assurance ambassadors, strategic change agents, and team culture champions in 2019 and beyond.

Tips for how to become a project manager In this intro for TechRepublic's how to become a project manager cheat sheet, Alison DeNisco Rayome discusses what the job entails, why it's in demand, skills needed, interview questions, and more.

To remain effective and relevant, project leaders can no longer just manage tasks, timelines, and resources. Instead, project Leaders must recognize the significance of their role as motivators, mentors, quality assurance ambassadors, and strategic change agents.

Here are three ways project leaders will need to refocus their efforts in 2019.

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1. Team culture champion

Leaders establish team culture. However, project, program, and portfolio managers ensure teams work, perform, produce, communicate, and interact in ways that encourage creativity and desired results.

Each team member possesses individual strengths, skills, and behaviors. Some personal and professional traits may not benefit the team and could result in conflict with other team members or stakeholders. To smooth conflicts, improve team synergies and working relationships, and ensure that collaboration and productivity levels are optimal, project leaders must become team culture champions.

Project leaders can accomplish this through their ongoing efforts to motivate and mentor individuals and to create an environment of fairness, objectivity, and inclusiveness. Project leaders also need to help individuals tie their tasks into milestones and deliverables. They can do this by empowering team members to track their own work using project management and workflow tools. This allows individuals to share ideas openly, feel value, and understand how their contributions make a difference in attaining wider goals.

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2. Quality assurance ambassador

Delivering the end result or product that meets or exceeds customer expectation is the ultimate goal for companies. This is not to say it is the only goal, but it is a must-do if companies expect to attract and retain customers. Project leaders must keep this in focus and champion product delivery, not just the management of the project lifecycle.

It's possible to meet timelines and keep projects under budget, yet entirely miss the mark in the customer's eyes. Project leaders need clear information about the customer's product specifications and expectations, and must also set realistic expectations with clients, teams, and stakeholders.

Ultimately, the quality of a delivered product must meet a customer's parameters. This may seem obvious, but missing the mark by even the smallest unit of measure can result in catastrophe, especially if the product is, for example, in an airplane, an automobile or electronics part, or a safety-related product. Becoming a quality assurance ambassador will be an essential aspect of project leadership in 2019 and beyond.

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3. Change agent

Today, projects are infused through every aspect of most businesses and impact reputations and brands on a daily basis. The speed at which news travels over social media channels, messaging, forums, and other means makes monitoring and addressing reputational issues a full-time job.

Through their diligence in the planning and execution of projects, project leaders will remain at the forefront of reputation management. Making sure that projects are executed in ways that do not negatively impact stakeholders' or the company's reputation must be actively considered in all initiatives.

While planning, executing, and monitoring all aspects of a project lifecycle remains a daily requirement, in 2019 and beyond project leaders will also need to lead the charge as quality assurance ambassadors, strategic change agents, and team culture champions.

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Image: Javier Sanchez Mingorance, Getty Images/iStockphoto