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Managing without authority
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One of my current project spans organizational departments, and different locations. I have no authority on several team members, since they don't report to me directly. It looks like I have to constantly chase them to get things done, and it's time consuming and tiring. I know that I'm not going to be given the organizational authority over all these people but this is really frustrating. I think building trust and giving people enough autonomy to carry out their work would be the best way to go. What is your opinion?
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After more than 30 years on the profession I usually said that project management is the art to manage people without any authority neither power on them. In fact, in my case, most of the people are very high up me in the organizational pyramid. I can write lot of different things from training I received to things I tested and were useful. Trust is a must. Generally speaking I was trained into a selling method named "Solution Selling" or "SPIN Selling" that helps me a lot (no matter I am not a seller).
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 25, 2018 6:05 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Sergio, for your response on this. I like the concept of "SPIN Selling".
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Anish -

Even with formal reporting authority, team members will do the bare minimum required (and sometimes less!) if you can't inspire them to do their best. While it feels like working in a projectized environment would be simpler sometimes, a strong matrix organization structure is actually a preferred option since a PM can focus on the project and not get caught up in HR-type activities.

To succeed in a matrix organization, you need to forge positive relationships with functional managers and inspire your team.

Kiron
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 25, 2018 6:11 PM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Kiron, and I agree that the functional managers support is critical in this case . Also, I think involving team members in the planning process is the best way to build trust and commitment to the project’s goals and tasks.
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If you have tried but failed to get results from these team members, then you need to escalate to their line or functional managers. Hopefully as Kiron alluded to, you have a decent relationship with them, or else you will be chasing them also.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 25, 2018 6:15 PM
Anish Abraham
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Sante, thanks for your feedback on this.
Network:1483



Jan 25, 2018 4:21 PM
Replying to Sergio Luis Conte
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After more than 30 years on the profession I usually said that project management is the art to manage people without any authority neither power on them. In fact, in my case, most of the people are very high up me in the organizational pyramid. I can write lot of different things from training I received to things I tested and were useful. Trust is a must. Generally speaking I was trained into a selling method named "Solution Selling" or "SPIN Selling" that helps me a lot (no matter I am not a seller).
Thanks Sergio, for your response on this. I like the concept of "SPIN Selling".
Network:1483



Jan 25, 2018 4:42 PM
Replying to Kiron Bondale
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Anish -

Even with formal reporting authority, team members will do the bare minimum required (and sometimes less!) if you can't inspire them to do their best. While it feels like working in a projectized environment would be simpler sometimes, a strong matrix organization structure is actually a preferred option since a PM can focus on the project and not get caught up in HR-type activities.

To succeed in a matrix organization, you need to forge positive relationships with functional managers and inspire your team.

Kiron
Thanks Kiron, and I agree that the functional managers support is critical in this case . Also, I think involving team members in the planning process is the best way to build trust and commitment to the project’s goals and tasks.
Network:1483



Jan 25, 2018 5:31 PM
Replying to Sante Vergini
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If you have tried but failed to get results from these team members, then you need to escalate to their line or functional managers. Hopefully as Kiron alluded to, you have a decent relationship with them, or else you will be chasing them also.
Sante, thanks for your feedback on this.
Network:1461



Good input from the group.

Anish,

I would create a weekly spreadsheet with key deliverables assigned to each team member. The spreadsheet will have all the team members on it with their deliverables. The due date would be up to your discretion when you need the status by. Email that spread to the team and CC their managers. The objective here is to keep their manager in the loop with the project work they are doing.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 26, 2018 10:40 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Drake, for your input on this and I like the idea of creating weekly spreadsheet.
Network:1914



Sergio's first sentence pretty much sums it up. And like the others also mentioned, don't discount the importance of a strong lateral relationship with the functional managers to garner as much influence as possible. Past that, candy alway's helps too :), or have a pizza meeting every so often.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 26, 2018 10:47 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Vincent, for your feedback on this.
I think in order for the team members to be more committed in situations like this, the PM should create a stronger psychological bond and have to make the tasks more appealing. Pizza meeting is a good way to go :)
Network:14644



It's one of the major challenges for a project manager to manage people on project without authority. I would say involving the team in planning and decision making, building trust, listening to the suggestions, gaining buy-in, autonomy, respect, motivation and flexibility are some tips to keep your workforce on track.
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 26, 2018 10:52 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Najam for your input on this.
It looks like to me that showing empathy and building trust is very important to function effectively, as team members are unlikely to open up.
Network:102808



I would say formal authority is over rated. You need to inspire people. If inspiration is not by you, it might be by the support you have from other"
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1 reply by Anish Abraham
Jan 26, 2018 10:53 AM
Anish Abraham
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Thanks Vincent for your feedback.
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