Project manager (PM): Look Ron, I am not at all confident about this project. I need skills that will take me years to develop
Ron Rosenhead (RR): Well, that is a positive comment. Probably more positive than your body language seems to show.
PM: Why is it a positive statement?
RR: You recognise that you need a specific skill. You also recognise that you do not have the skills yourself, and that it will take you a long time to develop the skills. What skill is it that you are referring to by the way?
PM: Finance! I do not understand for example how to calculate the return on investment figures (ROI) that the sponsor wants. In addition, I need to develop a full budget for the project but have never done this before.
RR: What options do you have then?
PM: (After some hesitation) I could ask someone from finance.
RR: OK, what would you ask them?
PM: Whether they could help out.
RR: Could that be put more positively – in a way that would encourage me (if it was me) to help out?
PM: Yes, clearly it could. I need to work on this further don’t I?
PM: The thing is Ron, I am so involved in the day to day stuff, I do not get the time to stand back and look at the bigger picture of the project within the company.
RR: Is the bigger picture something you need to be thinking more about?
PM: Absolutely! Without it we may miss something and I guess this is a classic example.
RR: OK, we need to wrap up soon however who else could help you in this finance situation, someone who could possible open the door to a resource in finance?
PM: I’m not sure I know what you mean.
RR: Look at the big picture – who else will be interested in the ROI besides you and the sponsor?
PM: Well, finance for sure and the Board.
RR: Right, so the question is how you can get someone from finance on board as quickly as possible. They are after all, busy people with commitments…
PM: I could of course talk to the sponsor to get someone from finance to sit on the project team. (Smiling) I never thought of that before.
RR: You have now, well done. This will allow you take that step back and look at the bigger picture. After all, it is a major change within the company and there are areas to really tease out. You cannot do everything yourself and by identifying the skills needed you have taken a huge step forward. By getting someone from finance on board then you have taken a giant leap forward – one that will allow you to take even bigger steps. You do not need the skills yourself however by getting someone who has, you will automatically learn – you won’t become an accountant but you will move the project forward and build relationships with finance.
There is something for you to think about; what if there is no one available within Finance to support the work you want? You need you think about this strategy.
PM: First stop sponsor tomorrow am, after I have written out my expectations for him to test out and think about availability and the risk issues this raises. Thanks!
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