The project has been signed off, the team established, stakeholders identified and communicated with, initial risk assessment is favourable.
I asked a group of people on a recent project management course an important question; do they ever think what it is going to be like working on the project they are assigned to? The response was quite muted. I however persevered and eventually got some interesting responses.
- tough because some stakeholders will not support the project
- I think this is a challenge to the company as it will change a lot of internal ways of working
- we do not really have the internal skills to deliver this project
Interestingly, there were no positive comments at all.
I then asked them how this question (modified to a fit with the audience) would be received by the rest of their team members, the sponsor, project board members, client etc.
There was absolute silence!
The group needed energising
The response was underwhelming until I made a suggestion; why not hold as part of the start up process a session which would cover this? It would allow stakeholder to articulate their expectations. The room became ‘alive’ again. There was lightness in the room compared to the heavy atmosphere previously. I fed this back to the group who said that looking at people’s expectations is difficult. They felt that that expectations were hard to articulate and some found it impossible to really express theirs openly. They did say that discussing expectations was not done enough.
The discussion continued with the group suggesting that the process would open up relationships that bit further in the company and enable the risk register to be more accurate.
An interesting idea? Do say!