Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Risk Management
Resource issues a risk?
I'm working on a two projects that were troubled to begin with. I came into each one halfway through as a newly employed, but experienced PM. As we've moved through the project, we finally got a good solid team on our side, with the original group on the client side to work with. Overcoming some uneasy things with them(extended project length, personality issues between the client and former PM, resource issues) we finally got to a point where things were going more smoothly. Our account manager is located in the same city as the client, which helps a lot.

Our account manager is holding the client's hand and has established a great rapport with them. We also have a product manager that was brought in to lead on his own side. We're all leaders, control freaks (in the best sense) and want to bring this project in successfully, if not on time or within budget.

As I think about this, I guess I'm looking for some kind of validation about my role of stepping back and staying more in the background by managing the schedule and conducting status meetings, which seems is all I can do at this point. Our PMO has directed the PMs to remove themselves from the temptation of getting our hands in the system and doing other people's work to get things done as well as doing all the action items ourselves without delegating them to the responsible parties.

What advice does one give to a PM in this situation?

it's the hardest thing, particularly if you've come up the developer route yourself and therefore possess skills that you can (ab)use to move the project along.

The thing to remember, in my view, is that this is a two-way street. In order for you to release the detail and step back someone has embrace it and step up. Even more worrying you have to move first to create the space for the other parties to occupy, and there is a lag as this happens.

All scary enough if you are responsible and visible but the crucial part is NOT EVERYONE IN THE TEAM WILL DO THIS SUCCESSFULLY. There will be people on the team who don't like it, who resist and who want to stay 'child' to your PM 'parent'. You must focus on this as your main work outside of the admin of actuals (delegate that if you can) but most important be absolutely clear and upfront in making a contract with your direct reports viz:
"I intend to step back to let you operate, this will be imperfectly done but I expect you to contribute to this by being honest, cooperative and responsible yourselves. The reward will be a better working environment for us all and a chance for you to show your strengths"
You can then legitimately meta-manage the relationship rather than getting embroiled in the nuts and bolts

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"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."

- Lucille Ball