7 Habits of True Project Leaders: Habit #2

This series covers highlights the habits that are deeply ingrained in project leaders who are capable of consistently delivering project success. Our last post introduced the topic and discussed the project charter.

Habit #2: Demands a Strong Architect

A strong leader always relies on the support of their team members, rather than expecting to be skilled in every area.

Every project has two methodologies. There’s the project management methodology, and there’s the methodology around the design and build of the solution itself. The design and build provides the foundation for how to solve the basic business problem in the project charter. Without this, project management doesn’t have solid ground to define the approach to solve the business problem. Without a clear solution approach, the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) will be misguided and incomplete.

It’s a fool’s errand to seek out a project manager who is an expert in both methodologies. Sure, it’s good to have a project manager who is an expert in their own domain. But it’s more important is a leader with the keen eye and command to demand a strong architect.


The organization needs to support the architects with at least high-level samples. A rich set of processes and artifacts to give an organizational standard makes everyone’s job easier. No one has to reinvent the wheel, and everyone speaks the same language.

Regardless of how qualified and talented the project managers and architects are, if there’s no standard in place, each architect and PM may use different structures and terminology that muddy the process. One project manager might even get multiple WBSs for multiple projects that all speak a different language from each other. This forces that PM to translate them all to a “good enough” facsimile. It’s better to have a general framework that each architect can feel free to modify to their needs.

Click here to read Habit #3: Doesn’t Gamble with Other People’s Money.