Navigating Organizational Politics
Last month’s article explored the fact that while requirements definition is an essential aspect of project management, of equal or greater importance is the management of expectations. These expectations represent the cultural values that operate within any and every organization--in terms of risk tolerance, acceptance of innovation, sharing of resources, valuing of collaboration and approach to communications. In essence, we need to understand the environment in which we work, what is valued and what isn’t, and adjust our behaviors appropriately in order to ensure success.
While this is all well and good in theory, the fundamental challenge is how to actually manage this process. We have to be able to understand the environment in which we and our projects are operating in, and more importantly we also have to be able to operate and manage effectively within it. With acceptance of this reality, we quickly find ourselves firmly within the realm of organizational politics. For many, this is not a place that they like to be. Run the term “office politics” by someone and reactions are likely to be similar to “backstabbing”, “looking out for number one”, “manipulation” or “deceitful”. In other words, pretty negative.
Arguably, politics itself is value-neutral. There is no good or bad; politics is a
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