Who Cares What You Think?

From the An Influential Project Manager Blog
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Today, more than ever, a project manager needs to be an influencer. The purpose of this blog is to stimulate your journey towards greater influence. With influence, you can overcome the roadblocks thrown in your way, overcome opposition, align stakeholders and, enjoy your role even more. However, since I know you are busy, the posts here will be short (about a minute), thought provoking and also drive you towards action. Feel free to connect with me, ask me questions, and share what's good here.

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A little while ago I talked with a Project Manager who cared. 

He was very concerned about the way his sponsor was changing the scope and deliverables of his project, and told him he was making a mistake. That the project should be focused on delivering something slightly different. The change of direction was not in the best interests of the company.

The reason he was talking to me was that he had just been brutally removed from the project, perplexed because all he had done was what he thought was best for the organisation, and that the sponsor was really just pursuing his own selfish agenda. 

From my angle, the political perspective, he had started to pursue his own political agenda, for the good of the organisation. This set him up against his sponsor’s political agenda. Instead of being the servant of the organisation, he had become a political player. 

And he lost.

As soon as you begin to try to influence the decisions, you are acting politically. This may or may not be what stakeholders are expecting of you. If they think you are there to simply execute the project deliverables, what they have decided is best for the organisation, they will not appreciate your opinions. Your attempts to get their decisions to change, however well-intentioned, will not be welcomed, especially if you are talking to other powerful people.

It is wise to be clear about the scope of your project. 

It is also wise to be clear about the scope of your role and what the key players around your project are expecting of you in that role, and when.

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Posted on: September 15, 2019 05:58 PM | Permalink

Comments (8)

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This is a very important fact to be aware of, and, quite frankly, one that is often lost sight of when a PM or another team member is passionate about a project and emotionally invested in its outcome.

Interesting article and very relevant in project environment. You have highlighted nicely that we should have clear understanding about scope of our role apart from scope of work for project.
Thank you Colin !!

Absolutely @Matthew - it is a delicate balance to be struct, and best done with conscious thought - everyone is being told to engage, be enthusiastic yet that can also be the Achilles Heel. Putting boundaries around emotional investment and deciding specifically where to invest take work.

It's important not to blur the lines of understanding. Process improvement is a separate animal from managing the current project. Current projects need to be managed according to the sponsors vision. We need to be aligned to that common goal because without the sponsor there is no project. If during that project we note there are areas or processes that could be improved, are those not great perspectives to add to the lessons learned?

I agree with you, but also think that we as project managers if we think that the decision is not the best or is out of scope we should always give our opinion, after is of the best interest of company to hear our opinion as experts, but a calm and wise opinion without dramas. At the end we work to company and have to respect the vision of the stakeholders and sponsor.

Interesting article and very informative on project politics

Wise to be clear about the scope of the role as well as our own authority in the organization.

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