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Project Management

Organizations' business activities are increasingly based on project-type ventures. The skills involved in leading and running projects are becoming more central to working life. A clear understanding of project management dynamics and a good overview of tools and methods enable selection of the tools best suited to an organization’s own project management.

Aalto PRO’s programs will provide you with the latest project competencies, update your knowledge and skills, and enable you to raise the maturity of your organization's project management. You will also succeed better in your projects and build a brand for your business or organization as a credible and desired project partner in your sector. Effective project management improves the productivity of project work and thereby the profitability of projects and business, while improving the use of resources.


In the future, all business activities will be in the form of projects

Organizations' business activities will also be increasingly based on project-type business ventures. This is being driven by digitalization and the streamlining of business ecosystems. The skills involved in leading and working on projects are therefore becoming more central to working life. A clear understanding of project management dynamics and a good overview of tools and methods will enable you to select suitable tools for your own project management.

Only good project leadership ensures that tasks run smoothly."

The achievement of goals is managed within individual projects, but difficulties are often experienced in prioritizing between projects and managing workloads.

Correspondingly, the development of joint practices can be awkward. Multi-project environments and large, demanding, mega-class projects are particularly challenging to manage and lead. On a global scale, it is estimated that one third of major projects exceed their budgeted costs. For example, scaling up of project management does not work when leading large projects, which are more about full-scale, temporary project organizations that need their own strong leadership.

A project leader commits all parties to the project

A project leader’s key tasks are to engage various stakeholders in fostering the project's implementation and to build a team, incorporating all parties to the project, which keeps to schedule and stays together from beginning to end. To achieve this, the project leaders must be able to apply project management knowledge, skills and methods to achieving the desired goal. For example, in urban development projects, success and the creation of a shared vision are better achieved by focusing more attention - among all known stakeholders - to the development stage, before the set-up phase even begins.

Project planning requires functional tools and methods

A great deal of development activity in Finland makes headway via projects. Success factors in projects include coordinating the interests of the various parties, determining the project’s scope, management of time and resources, procurement skills, communications and the ability to maintain a goal-based approach in an uncertain and changing operating environment. In project leadership, it is important to highlight what is being done and why, and why issues such as schedules and resources need to be in order at every turn.

Greater visibility of the project organization and its subcontractors leads to better progress in achieving the project’s objectives."

Greater visibility of the project organization and its subcontractors leads to better progress in achieving the project’s objectives. This can be achieved with the appropriate project tools and methods. Successful leadership-building is reflected in a good team spirit and a well-functioning culture within the project organization. A project has good prospects of succeeding according to plan when this is combined with the right technology and project methods.

Successful project leadership is a competitive advantage

As project activity increases, an organization needs to consider how to organize its project activities as a whole. Well-executed project leadership at organizational level can serve as a competitive advantage over other players in the sector. This refers to higher-level mechanisms than individual project management, which enable an organization to raise the maturity of its project activities and achieve the desired result. Skilled multi-project management enhances a firm’s competitive edge in uncertain environments in particular. The key issue is to consider how projects are linked to the organization’s services and product management.

Digitalization is a challenge for project leaders

The digitalization of business is posing challenges for project leadership. Although digital solutions are best suited to software development and projects in which the product is immaterial, the product still has a place as a continuously developing part of more traditional project leadership, such as in residential construction done on a Last Planner basis. In project leadership, digitality provides an insight into the kinds of potential different technologies can bring and the challenges they can solve in projects, such as how to use technology to create new business models.

Project leadership expertise takes center stage when choosing a project management approach suitable for different types of project."

Agile operating models, such as Agile, Scrumm and Safe, will not replace traditional project leadership. Project leadership expertise takes center stage when choosing a project management approach suitable for different types of project.

Extended project life-cycles and multi-project environments move across portfolio and program leadership interfaces; this requires strong project management experience and a certain level of certification.

Project leadership is leadership of people

As project work increases and becomes everyday, people's traditional job descriptions will change to include project work as a permanent component. In such a case, the focus of project leadership will shift from responsibility for projects only, to include responsibility for staff. Supervisor-type roles are highlighted in project leadership.

A good project leader must understand his of her own leadership profile, promote the development of an atmosphere of trust within the project team, steering group and among other stakeholders, and become familiar with the various motivational factors that get the best out of different people.

In projects, leadership involves the development of multi-dimensional management of wholes, while leading people working in different stakeholder groups. Everything begins with self-knowledge, understanding of difference, situational awareness and interactive skills.

Definition of a project

A project is defined as a temporary undertaking  to achieve a unique product, service or other end result. The temporary nature of a project means that it must have a clearly defined beginning and end. A project’s  uniqueness refers to each project’s one-off nature in terms of its background, circumstances and/or end result. Depending on the case, there may be major similarities between projects, but the key issue is that they involve an approach that is not analogous to mass production.

Projects tend to have a particular focus on achieving a predefined result and, above all, that action taken to achieve the end result is as well-planned, goal-based and efficient as possible. Projects are typically viewed as the lowest organizational level in systems consisting of projects, programs and project portfolios.

Definition of project management

Project management refers to the application of project-related information, skills, tools and techniques to activities aimed at achieving the goals set for the project. The aim of project management is to ensure that a project is planned in such a way that its objectives are fulfilled as well as possible and the project’s implementation is monitored and managed to achieve the most efficient possible end result.

Project portfolio management facilitates holistic leadership

Project portfolio management involves the comparative appraisal of ongoing projects, as well as holistic planning and direction. Placing projects in a portfolio, i.e. Project Portfolio Management, assists in managing the whole: monitoring finances and the sufficiency of resources, and guiding the implementation of agreed common policies in portfolio projects.

A skilled project portfolio manager can make value choices between projects, balance the portfolio strategically, adjust its risk profile and strive for the best possible portfolio revenue. Portfolio expertise helps a leader to focus on the essentials. Professional project portfolio management also leads to faster and more efficient project completion, better business forecasting and the reduction of unnecessary costs via the controlled elimination of unprofitable projects.

Definition of a project portfolio

A project portfolio refers to an overall set of activities consisting of projects, programs, possible sub-portfolios and/or other portfolio-related activities aimed at achieving strategic goals. A project portfolio is used to maintain and develop the alignment between project activities and strategic goals, so that the portfolio’s content promotes the achievement of the strategic goals set for the portfolio. Project portfolios tend to be viewed as the highest organizational level in systems consisting of projects, programs and project portfolios.

Definition of project portfolio management and leadership

Project portfolio management refers to the management and leadership of one or more project portfolios in order to attain the strategic goals set for the portfolio. Portfolio management enables the selection of content that supports the implementation of the project portfolio strategy, while ensuring that the content’s order of priority is that which is best suited to achieving the strategic goals, and securing the resources needed to implement the portfolio’s content.

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