Managing Projects Effectively: A Guide for Department Heads, Part 1


How and under what conditions should department heads embark on new initiatives and create new projects? In this article, I offer important considerations for the earliest phase of project development.

Department heads have it tough. Betwixt and between, they are called to lead in a special sort of way. They have challenges and opportunities that leaders in business, top administrators at their own institutions, and their own faculty do not. Department heads are called to have a vision for their unit and yet to serve the students, the faculty, and the administrative structure above them. In large part, they lack many of the tools available to, say, business leaders, who might let go someone whose performance no longer meets the organization’s needs or whose attitude is incompatible with its future. Being a department head requires a special brand of cultivating allies and persuading multiple constituencies in order to carry tasks of all sizes—in particular, to manage larger projects.

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