Project Management

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From the Project Confusion in Transition Management Blog
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Projects are about transition from one state to a desirably better state. Management is often viewed as a source of confusion. So lets break down the confusion and build up the means for transition to meaningful deliveries.

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A project manager confided she was distressed by complaints from her project teammates and customers; and being bogged down with increasing workloads. Her peers complained about how people on the project relate to one another, and customers throwing tantrums at her and the team without regards for courtesy. Because she engages people on their gripes, she has realized that she dealt with people issues more than in clearing her own work. How should she recover and move forward?

TBH, I tend to think there isn’t a generic answer. I’d say she should have Started off on the right foot at the start of the project. That's harsh :-P .. There should be experience from running projects and lessons learned from past projects  if not by herself, from others on and outside her project team. (In this KA, in assessing stakeholders at the start of a project). Regardless, she is already in the situation. A way forward could be to Ease off from the noise. Gradually change her approach or style in managing her project.

There are many resources and professional help, out there to maybe resolve or deal with the specifics of her predicaments; I’d suggest to –

  1. Set expectations on how you'd do your work, e.g. what working framework, ITTO approach, etc. you may lead the project team to adopt and adapt. This includes how you’d manage people – such as do you set goals together with the team and let them do their work. Or do you mostly set goals autocratically and micromanage. Most importantly, do you communicate with clarity and manage expectations consistently.
  2. Set guiding principles for success that will help the team in making decisions collectively, e.g. letting subject matter experts do the talking instead of channelling communications through the project manager or office. This is particularly important for your role – do you work on removing impediments and help the team pave ways forward, or do you mostly spend time as a postmaster and fact finding what went wrong. 

It is a commendable principle and practice, by and large, to be attentive, to listen more and acknowledge what was said. In the context of work and that of a project, perhaps conversations ought to weigh in more on what the time is meant for work lah. While it is virtuous to be human, it can be said there is a right time for the right conversation. Be firm, suggest a time and place for casual chats (if you can, make the time). 

Public domain

I find it helpful, to steer clear from –

  • Characters and emotions.
  • Talking about personal desires and affairs while at work.
  • Unacceptable actions e.g. hiding information because of mistakes, past decisions, bad feedback, etc.
Posted on: May 10, 2022 01:57 AM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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Sometimes the communication channel is the source of the problem. Have you ever noticed how people will say something on social media or an email that they would never otherwise state in a face-to-face conversation? Favour synchronous over asynchronous communication channels.

Setting the expectations for the team and the project at the start is a great suggestion, however people will be people and stuff is going to happen. We need to balance empathy and listening to team with sole focus on the goal / outcome of the project. Sometimes, that is simply part of being a leader.

Synchronous communication is the key to effective engagement and keeping a team resilient. I agree with Michael that sometimes, often in my region, we have to stand firm for the project :-D Thank you guys.

Project Manager boss, boss, went up briefing the "big boss" (boss of project managers boss), without listening what the project manager had to say about launching a new product. Big boss decided how to progress, without project manager/team knowledge. Boss of project manager boss came down, and ask him to order the project manager to do things happen as decided by the board...so much for project manager risks, team, expectations management

Thank you for sharing.

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