Rule 2: The Passive Conduit


This rule is really a corollary of Rule 1. One of the most common and serious mistakes that you can make as a project manager is to compensate for an inadequate sponsor role by making major project decisions such as scope, objectives, risk management, quality expectations, benefits realization plans, and so on by yourself.

As a project manager, your job is to take the sponsor's concept for his or her proj ect and, through participative project management processes, to define, refine, plan, and manage the development of the initial concept through to successful implementation and support.

The key is that although it is your responsibility to manage the realization of the concept, it is not your concept; it is your sponsor's.

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Simply put, you are the "passive" conduit through which the dreams of the sponsor flow.

What we mean by passive in this context refers to the ownership of the sponsor's concept. In other words, the project management process is far from passive and it is your responsibility to proactively negotiate, communicate, plan, enable, facilitate, and manage the project team, stakeholder involvement, and so on. However, should you come across differences of opinions between stakeholders about the scope and objectives, quality requirements, and so on, of the project, it is your job to attempt to resolve the conflict using whatever organizational authority or personal power is available to you.

Should this fail, it is your responsibility to "push back" the conflict to your sponsor, explaining what you have done to resolve it and what decisions your sponsor needs to make to get his or her project back on track.

At this stage, you may find that your sponsor attempts to redelegate the problem to you by saying, "Oh! Thanks for letting me know. However, I am a bit busy at the moment. Why don't you handle it?" [4]

[4] More likely, they'll say, "Why am I being bothered with this? Aren't you paid to manage the project?"

You are now facing the most critical decision you will face in the project. If you accept this behavior, you will be in violation of Rule 1 with all its associated consequences. Alternatively, you must firmly and politely resist the redelegation.

Try to explain again what you have already done to resolve the conflict and the impact of nonresolution of the problem on the project. Other tricks include using the " royal we" as in, "Thanks for the vote of confidence, boss, but unless we resolve this together, our project will "

Should this fail, read Rules 7 and 8 and do your best to survive.

One of the most experienced and competent project managers we have ever met ”Chris Wooley at A.M.P. ”has a wonderful comment he shares with new project managers. When asked for his opinion on major issues of scope and objectives, for example, for a project he is managing, he replies, "I have no opinion. I am just the project manager."



Radical Project Management
Radical Project Management
ISBN: 0130094862
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 136
Authors: Rob Thomsett

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