I suggested in a recent Blog that senior managers should can carry out their governance role more effectively. I had a couple of direct emails from people saying they agreed, but what should the senior manager (sponsor) be doing?
One of the people suggested the detail of role people play depends upon the project underway. I have no problem with this concept except….the detail of the role should be written down. There is a need to be clear who does what, who has responsibility for an activity and who is ultimately accountable. I do not believe in long winded job descriptions however there needs to be some clarity.
So what can you do about the role senior manager’s play in projects? Let’s re-visit and extend my earlier suggestion:
1. open discussions at an early stage with senior managers about project roles
• using the discussions as a base identify who fulfils which roles (you could even draw up a RACI table)
• put the roles on your documentation such as the project initiation document
2. review how the roles are working out at your project meetings. Have this as a standing item on your project agenda meetings and surface any issues.
3. identify those role related issues that are causing “problems”
4. openly discuss what is happening either in the meeting or face to face with the individual
5. resolve the issue(s)
Now I am not naïve and I am aware that to solve issues such as those described will take a lot more than the 5 points above. It needs someone to put their head above the parapet and raise the issue. It needs the use of good interpersonal skills and it needs people to recognise that clear roles can have a good impact on project outputs.
The issue of project roles is a frequent cause of comment on project management events I run. The comments are rarely complimentary and usually involve people in saying they are not always clear on the role they play and the decisions they can make.
Let’s change this!!