Seven Habits of True Project Leaders: Habit #3

This series highlights the 7 habits that are deeply ingrained in project leaders who are capable of consistently delivering project success. Our last post discussed the importance of the architect.

Habit #3: Doesn’t Gamble with Other People’s Money

When we think of leaders, we often think of bravery and fortitude, but you don’t want to trust the helm to someone who exposes your organization to unnecessary risks.

When bringing in a project manager, you want to make sure they recognize that risk management is necessary. A true project leader will have the fortitude to call out an organization without the rigor of risk management.

Nobody likes an insurance salesman. There are enough actual problems to go around that no one wants to dwell on worst-case-scenarios. But the organization and the manager need to put these predilections aside. Risk assessment and monitoring are not optional.

Luck and hope are not strategies. You might get lucky and have projects work out well for a stretch, but the odds will catch up to you eventually.


The organization needs to give project managers the license to hunt these risks. Then, they need to be open to hearing what they find. No matter what kind of temperament and talent-level the project manager has, it won’t do the organization any good if they shoot any messenger who brings a negative outlook. Is your organization structured to listen to risk assessments, embrace their reality, and invest in the insurance policy of mitigating the potential disaster?