Project Management

When Your Message Contradicts Foundational Assumptions

Joe Wynne is a versatile Project Manager experienced in delivering medium-scope projects in large organizations that improve workforce performance and business processes. He has a proven track record of delivering effective, technology-savvy solutions in a variety of industries and a unique combination of strengths in both process management and workforce management.

Sometimes you have a project message to deliver that will contradict prevailing foundational assumptions—assumptions like business strategy and organizational structure. It is not necessarily bad news or good news, but it will have a significant impact on your project.

You might not even know what impact exactly, just that it will be significant. Imagine, for example, your message when either of the following happen:

  • A quick cascading flow of organizational information from leadership through management levels eventually gets to you.
  • You are required to announce a new strategic direction that will eventually force an adjustment in your project to get aligned (scope adjustment or financial justification).

Example: Cascading Message About Organizational Changes
Consider a case where you are doing your part in a fast cascading series of messages coming down from leadership related to change in organizational structure. Top leaders adjust their direct reports, and their direct reports adjust their teams and so on.

Eventually, you get a message to tell your project team that these changes will affect your team resource mix and the stakeholders they work with. There is nothing unusual or inherently wrong with this type of communication, but it certainly has an impact to team members, is disruptive, and you must handle it appropriately.

Respond Quickly

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"He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever."

- Chinese Proverb