Project Management

The Power of Stewardship in Academic Project Management

Posted by
Carl Peters
April 13, 2023

Stewardship is a crucial aspect of project management in science, requiring leadership and effective communication. As an academic project manager, it is important to set an example and demonstrate the behaviors and practices that are expected of team members. This includes practicing what you preach and avoiding hypocrisy.

Practicing what you preach means that you should not only set expectations but also follow them yourself. For instance, if you require regular status updates from team members, you should also provide regular updates to your team and stakeholders. By practicing what you preach, you set an example for your team and demonstrate your commitment to the project's success.

Stewardship takes this a step further by emphasizing the responsibility that academic researchers have to manage resources and ensure the long-term success of the project. This includes considering the impact of the project on the environment, stakeholders, and future generations. Academic researchers should ensure that the project is carried out in a way that is sustainable, ethical, and responsible.

Hypocrisy can undermine stewardship and damage the credibility of the academic researcher and the project itself. If team members perceive the a researcher as hypocritical, they may lose trust and respect, leading to miscommunication, missed deadlines, and ultimately, project failure.

While not explicitly stated in our Pathfinder Framework, practicing what you preach and stewardship are essential for effective project management in science. Academic researchers should lead by example and demonstrate the behaviors and practices they expect from their team members. Stewardship emphasizes the responsibility of academic researchers to manage resources and ensure the success of the project. Avoiding hypocrisy can build trust, increase motivation, and lead to project success, while supporting stewardship.