It is not a joke. If you need people to approve your idea, you need to spearhead the information you are going to convey. There is no time to build rappport, there is no time for ice-breaking and what you can do is go for it.
The idea must be very clear cut, straightforward and simple enough to be understood. You might want to specify the upside of your ideas and the drawback of the alternatives.
Don’t be too nervous about dead air. Let it be, you counterpart might take time to digest the information you presented. They would ask you if they want to clarify anything.
At the same time, if you have a chance to send over the material and information about your idea before the meeting, it would definitely help. It is especially true for those stakeholders who acts as gatekeeper. Decision maker usually ask for gatekeepers if they have question. If we can understand or even clarify / resolve those question before the meeting, you are a step closer to get your idea approved.
One headache problem for a new project manager would be the keep of changing of the project plan. They may complain to their colleagues, friends and family about this. However, a more experienced project manager, ‘change’ has been their companion and would no longer complain it any more. In fact, they will also put ‘change’ or ‘change management’ as part of the project plan. But I want to focus on talking about ‘progressive elaboration’ here.
Progressive elaboration means you will not know the whole picture on day 1. More details would be found as we talk to more stakeholders, dig into task list behind each milestones and also get the resources and other commitment from the stakeholders.
In the first day of the planning meeting, perhaps you will only get the framework and can barely identify the milestones of the projects. After talking to some senior project manager and review the lesson learn documentation in another projects, you will start to identify and interview those stakeholders. Two weeks late, after consolidating all stakeholders requirement and advice, your project plan will be more solid than before. Then, you have to breakdown those task into small sub-tasks; identify the interdependencies, define the critical path and task sequence. At this point, your project plan will be in a better shape.
However, don’t put this as the end of the project planning work. There are still a lot more to do, e.g. human resources planning, communication planning, risk management planning, change management plan and so on. We will talk about it later.
Sometimes projects are stuck in the middle of the initiation stage and it would become deadlock of nobody is willing to give way.
It would happen if the interest of the a stakeholder is jeopardized by the project outcome. As a result, that stakeholder may create a lot of troubles / hurdles for the project. No matter how hard we push, there will not be much progress.
Under that situation, we need to think about alternative solutions which can strike the balance of the interest of different stakeholders. In a nutshell, we need a win-win solutions in order to push the project forward.
We always heard of people taking about win-win. So, what are constituents of win-win solutions:
- the solution is proposed by a trustworthy person, not the representative of any stakeholders.
- think of your feet and see what the stakeholder values and concerns the most and start from there
In addition to a good win-win solution, it is also important to establish / create the environment / occasion for all parties to agreed on the new solutions without putting any stakeholders under the spotlight that he/she was the loser who gave in. For this piece of work, it is more an arts than a science thing.
Sometimes if time the limiting factor, we can also try to another path – escalation. Don’t think that you are impotent and thus you need to escalate. Sometimes, the boss or project sponsor will admire your escalation and they are more than happy to help if the problem can get fixed in any earlier stage before it slipped. Talk to the higher management, get your opinion and rethink your strategy to resolve the deadlock – that’s the way to go!
Project or non-Project
Project managers are staff who manage projects for an organization. Projects can be differentiated with Operation by the nature of those activities involved. Project are a group or groups of non-repetitive activities. Operation, on the contrary, would involve a series of routine and pre-defined processes. However, we can still call ‘designing the operation process’ a project.
Small and Big Project
A project can happen within the same or across different teams / functional units. Small project can be ‘Creating a management sales dashboard’ within the sales team. Big project can be ‘Building a corporate website’ which will involve the input from almost all departments within the organizations.
Project Manager’s Work
Project Manager’s role is to make sure that the project outputs are delivered on time under pre-defined resources and quality.
In order to achieve this goal, a project manager need to identify the stakeholders of the project, form the project team, develop the project plan and then execute accordingly.
Project Manager’s Mentality and Skill Set
- Detailed and Organized
- Developed or preferably follow a project management framework for project planning, execution and closure
- Good at communication and inter-personal skill
- Know the business or industry