The Power of Project Leadership

According to the list of blog posts in my WP-Admin this is my 25th book review! I guess you know by now that I like to read books. Hopefully you like my reviews and find them useful. This time I’ve read a book that is called ”The Power of Project Leadership” by Susanne Madsen. It was published in 2015, and the subtitle is ”7 keys to help you transform from project manager to project leader”.


”In other words, managers are concerned with doing things right, leaders with doing the right things.” – Susanne Madsen


The book has four chapters and they are:

  1. The world is changing and so must you
  2. Your hidden drivers
  3. The 7 keys to project leadership
  4. Making the transition happen

Throughout the book many questions are raised for the reader to think of and reflect upon. Are there more questions than answers? It’s a fine balance, and it is up to the reader to put effort in to get the most out of this book (by doing the exercises for example).

In the first chapter Susanne introduces the three common mistakes that project managers make:

  • Mistake #1: Managing tasks and events at the expense of leading people
  • Mistake #2: Being reactive and focusing on the urgent rather than the important
  • Mistake #3: Believing that we have to know all the answers

These three reflects very well with my own experiences. So how to avoid these mistakes? The key to good project leadership is to be proactive and to keep a good balance between task focus and people focus. As a help to this, the 7 keys to project leadership are introduced:

  1. Be authentic
  2. Lead with vision
  3. Improve and innovate
  4. Empower the team
  5. Get close to stakeholders
  6. Establish a solid foundation
  7. Work with intent

As you see, this resonates with the agile values. To be able to lead people you need to know what motivates them. Personal development experts lists six human needs: Certainty, Variety, Significance, Connection, Growth and Contribution.

People comes together in teams to perform the work. Energy, engagement and explorations are keys for team communication.

”Organizations are no longer built on force but on trust. The existence of trust between people does not necessarily mean that they like each other. It means they understand one another. Taking responsibility for relationships is therefore an absolute necessity. It is a duty.” – Peter Drucker


Basically the book is about the transition from a project manager to a project leader, and the 7 keys that helps you to get there.  The book is solid with nice layout, good structure, informative stories, many exercises and pictures and a pleasant length (250 pages). If you are into agile and are working with projects, you should check this book out!

All the best,
 Tomas from TheAgileist

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