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Topics: IT Project Management, Leadership, Risk Management
Have you worked with multiple bosses?
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Have you worked with multiple bosses? What were the typical challenges you see?

How did you manage multiple bosses? Could you share some best practices?

Thanks in advance.
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As a project manager, you always have multiple bosses. You have your organizational superior, your project sponsor and your client.

I don't know that there is a lot that can be carried from one boss to another: it boils down to understanding their expectations and communication preferences.
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Hello Anupam: I don't think I've ever worked on a project without multiple bosses and this is especially true with large projects. We need the stakeholders to be successful in our projects, but this can also be somewhat complex. Identifying the stakeholders, Planning how we will manage them, Managing the Stakeholders and Controlling their engagement is so important. To me, the planning around how we manage our "bosses" is so important. Figuring out their expectations, communication, understanding their interest in the project, realizing and ranking their influence, and making sure they are engaged is all fluid and not always easy. Have you done a stakeholder analysis or register? I have found Rita Mulcahy's PMP Exam Prep book helpful in the chapter about Stakeholder Management. Many times I have referred back to that chapter when needing additional insight or reminders about how to manage multiple bosses.
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I've never worked with only one boss...that will be something different and a real challenge, ;)

2 recommendations with examples.

- Keep attention to the communications. Example prepare correct distribution list in your e-mails in order to avoid forget someone, share priorities and status in order to avoid conflicts.

- Understand the reporting line. Very helpful for something easy as vacation request or something more difficult as an ethical dilemma.
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Thanks for inputs. May be I am not clear here, by multiple bosses I do not mean stakeholders or sponsors. What I mean is entirely two different managements, having their own standards, guidelines and procedures to follow.
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1 reply by Mayte Mata-Sivera
Jan 17, 2017 11:28 AM
Mayte Mata-Sivera
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This description remembers me when I've worked in an IT SAP excellence or compentece center.
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It does happen. I once had a direct supervisor who was quite clueless in project management. His boss - so my boss's boss - was a lot more into PM standard practices, which led to amusing and sometimes awkward project meetings.
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Jan 16, 2017 9:40 PM
Replying to Anupam
...
Thanks for inputs. May be I am not clear here, by multiple bosses I do not mean stakeholders or sponsors. What I mean is entirely two different managements, having their own standards, guidelines and procedures to follow.
This description remembers me when I've worked in an IT SAP excellence or compentece center.
...
1 reply by Anupam
Jan 17, 2017 11:33 AM
Anupam
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You got it :)
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Jan 17, 2017 11:28 AM
Replying to Mayte Mata-Sivera
...
This description remembers me when I've worked in an IT SAP excellence or compentece center.
You got it :)
...
1 reply by Mayte Mata-Sivera
Jan 17, 2017 12:31 PM
Mayte Mata-Sivera
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Worked past tense, I have memories of hard hard work, multiple discussions, and wasting time in meetings without sense, each one with a different approach to priorities, different format of documentation requested...

Courage Anupam is a challenging situation!

Keeping clear communication will be key.
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Jan 17, 2017 11:33 AM
Replying to Anupam
...
You got it :)
Worked past tense, I have memories of hard hard work, multiple discussions, and wasting time in meetings without sense, each one with a different approach to priorities, different format of documentation requested...

Courage Anupam is a challenging situation!

Keeping clear communication will be key.
Network:1116



There is often, at least in the US, this notion of a direct boss, and a dotted line. This can be construed as having more than one boss. In this case, one (the direct line) should have insight into your career goals, contributions and control over our reviews/salary etc. The dotted line, may be temporary, in order to provide leadership on a project. Treat each similar, but ensure the direct boss has feedback and maintain open lines of communications with each.
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1 reply by Anupam
Jan 20, 2017 9:56 PM
Anupam
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I agree, Gary. Thanks for the input. We have onshore/offshore management, and this really becomes challenging sometimes.
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Jan 20, 2017 5:23 PM
Replying to Gary Hamilton
...
There is often, at least in the US, this notion of a direct boss, and a dotted line. This can be construed as having more than one boss. In this case, one (the direct line) should have insight into your career goals, contributions and control over our reviews/salary etc. The dotted line, may be temporary, in order to provide leadership on a project. Treat each similar, but ensure the direct boss has feedback and maintain open lines of communications with each.
I agree, Gary. Thanks for the input. We have onshore/offshore management, and this really becomes challenging sometimes.

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