8 Don t sugar the pill. Tell it as it is

8 Don't sugar the pill. Tell it as it is

Making a report of problems poses interesting psychological questions, especially for the person making the report. Most of us are uncomfortable raising an issue as being beyond our abilities or authority to resolve. And unlike good red wine, bad news does not improve with age. It gets worse. If your project begins to experience problems make sure you report the difficulties in an accurate manner. Senior managers and executives do not like surprises.

First, report your problems when they are still just deviations from expected performance, but never just present the problem. Always know why it arose and have solutions even if they are going to be unpalatable. Next, beware cognitive dissonance on the part of your boss. Cognitive dissonance is when the mind cannot accept what the senses are telling it. You might tell him that it's not going to work, but if he believes deeply that it will, he may well just ignore your warnings. Ensure you document your concerns. During the Second World War the infamous British airborne operation at Arnhem went ahead despite information being available to the planners that two SS Panzer divisions were resting in the area. They ignored this because it didn't fit the plans in which they had invested thousands of man-hours with disastrous results.

Finally, beware your team not telling you what's going on. Ensure you develop a project culture where you don't get surprised either.

Tip

No one likes bad news. When it arrives, as it most certainly will, make sure you and your team deal with it as quickly and pragmatically as possible and document what you do.


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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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