IPMA International Project Management Association
24 May 2019 / 9:00

Increase project leadership, decrease project management and your project success rate will skyrocket!

by Tero Kyckling

The root causes for most project pitfalls are people originated. That is hardly any news, but providing a working solution to catching the emerging people issues early for targeted corrective actions is big news.

The project management focus is on tangible, measurable deliverables such as spent hours, delivered code lines, moved gravel etc. i.e. anything that is reasonably easily countable (upper left corner in picture below). When the tangible numbers start looking worrying, the root cause is often on the people side (internal or external stakeholders). People related issues are seldom under active scrutiny during projects. Only after the projects, people issues are briefly discussed in lessons learned meeting, after which they are forgotten and same the issues come to haunt in the next project as well.

The key to avoiding project failure is how you can tap early into the human factor side, these invisible issues in projects. You must understand the sentiment of your project engine; how people see and feel about core success enablers and how the sentiment is changing. If you have no means to peek under the hood of your project engine, the odds at succeeding are against you. Conducting surveys takes you nowhere but only gives you random snapshots that are prone to a number of biases. You need to understand the trend in a reliable manner.

A potential solution
Celkee Insight® is one of the potential applications for identifying early emerging people and organisation related issues with internal and/or external stakeholders. It taps into the human side by systematically measuring the status and impact of actions. It visualises the trend changes in a reliable manner with easily understandable visualisations.

The concept is built utilising the findings from modern behaviour and neuroscience research. The measuring method is highly reflective, and it produces both quantitative and qualitative data for easy consumption.

The process-based approach and reflective method in Celkee Insight® credibly reveals weak signals and potential root-causes for trend changes in real time. This enables catching emerging issues early and performing well-targeted actions.

The M.A.D. process



  1. Project members are reflecting their views on the KPIs regularly with the Celkee Insight® (Measure)
  2. Collected data is analysed by responsible persons and it is part of the real-time situation view (Analyse)
  3. The potential findings are discussed among the right people, and needed actions are decided. (Do)

The process gives the project management reliable insight on the state and direction of the core people related topics, and it helps in keeping the success enablers continuously visible to all relevant stakeholders. You eventually get what you measure.

A practical application

The Finnish Länsimetro (West metro phase 2) project uses a unique situation management model that was granted a project of the year title by the Project Management Association Finland. Following the state of the emotional status of the project is one part of the situation management model.

Länsimetro Oy wanted to develop a culture that is capable of bringing emerging issues early to the discussion. The sooner the problems are discussed, the easier they are to tackle. The project defined four KPIs that are used to monitor the state of the project organisation. As a part of on-going project processes in both the big room and construction works, the flow of information, trust, smoothness of cooperation and professional pride are regularly measured using the Celkee Insight® approach.

The project is using a situation management room where several monitors display real-time information of all the KPIs. The new increased focus on the people issues (the KPIs and the M.A.D. process) has already helped in identifying the relevant topics for discussion and actions.

A successful project requires the right combination of task management and people leadership. The people leadership is usually the one that is ignored because it is difficult to measure and act upon. Fortunately, now there is a way to take the bull by the horns if you got the guts. More about the Länsimetro phase 2 can be found here: https://www.lansimetro.fi/en/news/lansimetro-mittaa-yhteistyon-sujuvuutta-rakennusurakoissa-en-translation/

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