6 Get a grip on the politics early

Internal organizational politics is the bane of a project manager's life. The politics of an organization can prevent a project ever getting going, or worse, can ensure it fails. The last thing you need as a project manager is to discover that your entire project is really just part of an ongoing battle between two business units with hidden agendas.

If you're a project manager within a large organization you should have a reasonable understanding of its politics, but beware a whole new world unfolding before your eyes when you get promoted into the role. And don't say or think 'I don't do politics'; that's about as realistic as saying 'I don't do breathing'. Besides, it's not necessarily a question of whether you do politics, it can be a matter of whether politics is done to you. If you're an employee who sometimes manages projects you should similarly have an understanding of the workings of your company. The worst situation for this is, of course, being a newly employed or contract project manager. Experience helps a great deal, but you still have to gain it. The best advice we ever received on this was to not trust anyone initially and to try to understand the benefits and costs to the decider of each decision taken with regard to your project. This might seem underhand, but if you just sail blindly on and find you are a pawn in someone else's game, your team and your CV won't thank you. Don't appear overtly wary or disbelieving (this will not help you succeed either) but, until you are sure of your ground, don't rush into agreeing or disagreeing with anything without taking time to consider your decision. Sadly, taking too long with your considerations will result in your being labelled indecisive but then no one said project management was easy.

Tip

Until you understand the politics of an organization for which you are managing a project, don't rush into major decisions based on the advice of individuals or single business units.


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Definitive Guide to Project Management. The Fast Track to Getting the Job Done on Time and on Budget
The Definitive Guide to Project Management: The fast track to getting the job done on time and on budget (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0273710974
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 217
Authors: Sebastian Nokes
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