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Topics: Change Management, Communications Management, Virtual Teams
Project communication issues
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Communication is so important to project success and most of the project managers spend 90% of their time for project communication. But whenever there are several groups involved in a project,there are possibilities of power, influence and interest getting in the way and sometimes completely blocking the communication channels. This is usually happens in the upper management at which projects are planned and executed. As a project manager, how do you deal with situations like this?
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Anish -

Stakeholder engagement, influence & persuasion - in short, all the interpersonal skills it takes to be a successful PM. If the project is critical to the organization OR you have a sponsor who has sufficient political clout you can usually overcome such challenges but where it can be extremely difficult is if it is a low priority project and the sponsor doesn't have the ability to influence his/her peers to throw their support behind it. In such cases, a healthy dose of risk management is often the only solution...

Kiron
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Kiron,
I was in a situation were the project sponsor didn't had much influence, so this person was not able to get the complete support from the management. It looks like to me that conflict usually arises because of the inequity, and rather than making the situation more equal, some project stakeholders becomes defensive instead of taking responsibility.

thanks
Anish
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Understanding human motivation will go a long wait to assisting you with communication issues. I wish they had more on communication and psychology in the PMBOK.
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Anish - I agree on what Kiron suggested; key is to really understand the situation regarding the different stakeholders position and identifying the risks / problems arising from that for the project. If the sponsor - as in your case - has not the power to support the project in an appropriate way you have a problem: If you don‘t find a real sponsor with empowerment you should stop the project because you will not get all resources needed to complete ... (risk analysis should show this as a result)
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I work for the federal government, so issues of power, influence and self-interest have been a part of nearly every project I’ve managed. I believe PMs should invest time and effort establishing relationships with key individuals within an organization, especially if they’re not already a stakeholder in one of the PM’s projects. In this way PMs will have communication channels they can use when necessary. I have frequently been in situations where I was able to circumvent communication blockages only because of the relationships I has previously established.
A good way to do this is to ask a key individual if they need any help with project management-related tasks within their group. People within most companies seldom go out of their way to offer assistance to those in other divisions. This will do much to make a favorable impression with the key individual and help establish a relationship with them that might prove valuable at a later time.
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What you stated is a situation in particular. I do not agree with you about the upper management block the communication. On the other side, I discuss lot of times (including last week I was part of the PMI World Tour) about thing related to communication mainly the 90% percentage. In fact, what we do in our daily life?. But, returning to the point, the thing you have to take into account when you are assigned to an initiative is: you have to make people working for the project when you have no formal power over them and often they are in "multitasking mode". It does not matter the position inside the organizational pyramid. While I am not a sales person, to deal with that I am using a selling method named "Solution Selling" or "SPIN Selling". We are using it to perform all related to project stakeholder management which is key to plan things like communication, risks, etc.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 02, 2017 7:56 AM
Anish Abraham
...
Well, let us agree to disagree on this. In my experience we had this problem in one of our project, and ultimately the project sponsor was laid off because of the lack of support and communication issues from upper management. Anyway I like the idea of allowing people to work on the project when there is no formal power over them.
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Dec 02, 2017 5:38 AM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
...
What you stated is a situation in particular. I do not agree with you about the upper management block the communication. On the other side, I discuss lot of times (including last week I was part of the PMI World Tour) about thing related to communication mainly the 90% percentage. In fact, what we do in our daily life?. But, returning to the point, the thing you have to take into account when you are assigned to an initiative is: you have to make people working for the project when you have no formal power over them and often they are in "multitasking mode". It does not matter the position inside the organizational pyramid. While I am not a sales person, to deal with that I am using a selling method named "Solution Selling" or "SPIN Selling". We are using it to perform all related to project stakeholder management which is key to plan things like communication, risks, etc.
Well, let us agree to disagree on this. In my experience we had this problem in one of our project, and ultimately the project sponsor was laid off because of the lack of support and communication issues from upper management. Anyway I like the idea of allowing people to work on the project when there is no formal power over them.
...
1 reply by Eric Simms
Dec 02, 2017 12:51 PM
Eric Simms
...
I'd love to deal with a 'real' issue on a project, such as a technical complexity. Instead, my projects usually suffer from the machinations of upper management - usually in the form of sudden, unexplained changes in direction, a refusal to make pressing decisions, and a refusal to acknowledge appallingly obvious organizational problems, such as divisions that continually refuses to perform its tasks on time.
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Dec 02, 2017 7:56 AM
Replying to Anish Abraham
...
Well, let us agree to disagree on this. In my experience we had this problem in one of our project, and ultimately the project sponsor was laid off because of the lack of support and communication issues from upper management. Anyway I like the idea of allowing people to work on the project when there is no formal power over them.
I'd love to deal with a 'real' issue on a project, such as a technical complexity. Instead, my projects usually suffer from the machinations of upper management - usually in the form of sudden, unexplained changes in direction, a refusal to make pressing decisions, and a refusal to acknowledge appallingly obvious organizational problems, such as divisions that continually refuses to perform its tasks on time.
...
1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 02, 2017 2:01 PM
Anish Abraham
...
I agree, it's fun to deal with real issues rather than other dealing with communication blockages from upper management.

Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. I really appreciate your time on this.

Anish
Network:1639



Dec 02, 2017 12:51 PM
Replying to Eric Simms
...
I'd love to deal with a 'real' issue on a project, such as a technical complexity. Instead, my projects usually suffer from the machinations of upper management - usually in the form of sudden, unexplained changes in direction, a refusal to make pressing decisions, and a refusal to acknowledge appallingly obvious organizational problems, such as divisions that continually refuses to perform its tasks on time.
I agree, it's fun to deal with real issues rather than other dealing with communication blockages from upper management.

Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. I really appreciate your time on this.

Anish
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1 reply by Eric Simms
Dec 02, 2017 2:43 PM
Eric Simms
...
My pleasure, Anish. I'm glad you posted this; it's good to know I'm not the only PM who deals with ridiculous situations like this. On the positive side, they have taught me how to be very creative when it comes to getting things done.
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Dec 02, 2017 2:01 PM
Replying to Anish Abraham
...
I agree, it's fun to deal with real issues rather than other dealing with communication blockages from upper management.

Thank you all for the comments and suggestions. I really appreciate your time on this.

Anish
My pleasure, Anish. I'm glad you posted this; it's good to know I'm not the only PM who deals with ridiculous situations like this. On the positive side, they have taught me how to be very creative when it comes to getting things done.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Dec 02, 2017 3:54 PM
Anish Abraham
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Since we both work for public sectors, you understand the situation completely. I'm glad that you responded to this post.

Best
Anish
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