Breaking Your Commitments

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In my previous post, I talked about work commitments. Sometimes success in project delivery requires breaking those commitments if they are not in line with your goals. If you need to break a commitment, I recommend the following steps:

1.    Identify a commitment you have made that is not benefiting the project.
2.    Consult with the project manager and/or supervisor whether this activity can be removed from your list.
3.    Identify someone suitable to deal with this task. Seek advice from your manager when in doubt.
4.    Once you've secured management authorization, transfer the details of your commitment to that person.
5.    Advise the person to whom you originally made the commitment that the task has been reassigned to another person, and explain the reason for this action.

Depending on your role and authority, you may be able to deal directly with the person to whom you made the commitment, and you can resolve the conflict without involving other parties.

There's no magic formula for undoing what's done. But by breaking such commitments in this professional manner, you are renegotiating the terms of your commitments and earning trust and credibility. 
Posted by Dmitri Ivanenko PMP ITIL on: February 04, 2010 03:12 PM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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Dmitri Ivanenko
In addition to the basic steps that we all know, but rarely recognize as easy to do, I wanted to point out the psychological side to making such a decision.

The psychological side of breaking your own commitments may trigger feelings of “being labeled as making the wrong initial decision” or “being wrong”.
We, as individuals, often put a lot of importance into “being right” or “being correct." We often do not take it well when we are told that we are “wrong” in making a certain decision or commitment. Breaking it seems to be even more so.

Ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s going to benefit the project’s end result: delivering on commitments for the sake of being right or delivering on commitments that ensure project success?
- Who am I being when I fear breaking such commitments? And who am I being when I stick to commitments for the sake of “being right”?
- What impact do I have on me, my team and my organization when I focus only on what’s required to be done?
- Is it more important to me what people think or what they see as the end result of my actions?

Taking the psychological side of our decision making will clear up the reasons we create for not doing something we need to do or want to do, whether it is for the work we do or in our personal life.


great article

Shoaib A. Shaikh
Project management is a whole responsibility of the project and the commitment with the customer, commitment with the company and with the coworkers too.

I am going to add one more thing that project manager should know about the resource, how strong team he has and how strong relationship he has with their co-workers, so that he can make on time and good commitment with any one easily.

great post as usual!

Anthony Fridelle
Dmitri,great comment on the post. One thing we focus on in our team is "What's right, not who's right." If we keep that in front of us as a guidepost, we understand the position that we're making decisions from.

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