Project Management

Are You Balancing Your Work Relationships?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

It doesn’t matter which approaches your organization uses to deliver projects, how effective and efficient your processes are, or how skilled and experienced the people are—the biggest influence on project success comes from strong relationships. The PM has to be at the heart of that—developing and leading the team, creating trust and belief among stakeholders, and leveraging their relationships to help overcome the inevitable challenges.

For new PMs, it’s therefore essential to build those relationships as quickly as possible—all of them. And that’s where problems sometimes start. I frequently see new project managers develop really strong relationships with a subset of the people who will help their project succeed. It may be two or three of the more experienced team members, the sponsor and customer among stakeholders, and so on. The new project manager (correctly) identifies these individuals as among the most important relationships, and focuses on building connections that are as strong as possible.

There is some logic to this approach. New PMs have a lot to learn about just about everything, and at times it can be like drinking from a fire hose. If you can limit the volume of “stuff” coming at you by focusing only on the key relationships at first, then that helps…right? After all, if you build strong bonds …

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