Overcoming Objections: Lessons for the Project Manager

Robert Barger, MBA, PMP

Robert Barger, MBA, PMP, is the author of Sam The Cat: A Guide for Memorizing the 42 Sub-Processes Using Mnemonics and Memory Stepping Stones, a manuscript utilized by the PMI Central Ohio Chapter to assist students in preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification examination, as well as Red, Yellow, Green, How to Fix a Broken Project and Lessons for the Project Manager from French and Raven’s Bases of Power. Mr. Barger has been in the project management field since 2003 and has worked in a wide variety of industries and settings. Mr. Barger is currently working as a principal consultant for a technology solutions consulting firm in Central Ohio.

The Alamo
There is a movie starring Tom Hanks in which he leads a group of soldiers to find one missing soldier. In the movie, Tom Hanks’ character defines a particular location in the town they are defending as being “The Alamo.” By this, he means that this is the location he has chosen as their fallback position in the event that all of their other plans go wrong. This is their last stand—and the location they will rely on when all else fails.

At some point in your project management career, given your reputation as someone who can get things done, you will be given a project that deals with a product or technology that you have not experienced in the past. You will be asked to lead a team that speaks a technical subject matter language you are not familiar with. You can adapt, and eventually you will gain an amateur-level of understanding, which will help you identify the risks unique to this particular product. But what do you do until then? Do you stop the project while you seek training? Do you halt productive conversations during meetings to ask the team to explain the basic subject matter concepts to you? The project team knows what they are talking about. Is it critical that you know everything they know? Your role as project manager is to help remove obstacles impeding the team’s success. But how do you do that if you don’t …

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"Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the entire world."

- Albert Einstein

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