Project Practitioners > Do I Have To?

Do I Have To?

By Lisa DiTullio

As I child, how many times were you told to clean your room, pick up your toys, or empty the trash?  I typically responded to parental requests with a whiny, "Do I have to?"  I rebelled frequently; quick to resist the request than obediently comply.

Introducing standardized project management practices can sometimes illicit a similar reaction.  For many project managers, being asked to follow a common project management approach can produce a level of opposition eerily similar to our younger years; project managers can morph into mavericks before our very eyes when asked to comply with new project management requirements.

Here’s four ways to calm the crowd when introducing project management processes:

  1. Focus on the business.  Relate to staff on a business and logical level rather than a project management level.  Forcing project management language and technique before an organization is ready is apt to cause organizational mutiny.
  2. Never let the perfect by the enemy of the good.  Introducing project management requires flexibility and adjustment; never expect the process to be right the first time – it will always require tweaking and adjustment.
  3. It’s not about the tools.  Do not confuse the use of project management tools with project management process.  Successful project management is not about the tools.  It is not even about the content of the tools.  It’s about thinking, acting and managing the factors that will determine the project’s success.
  4. Third time’s a charm.  The number three may mean something – good or bad – when you receive feedback about how things are going.  If the topic comes up once, it may be simply interesting.  If it comes up twice, it suggests, “pay attention”.  But hearing something stated three times, from different sources, usually represents Truth – it means action is required, or it is fact.

Be thoughtful and precise when introducing project management processes.  Take time to pause and consider past performance to anticipate future needs.  Then, introduce processes and techniques to help guide the organization toward that future view vision.

Need help introducing project management in your organization?  Contact us today for simple, practical advice and training programs designed with flexibility to meet your changing needs.

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