All that People Stuff
Margaret (Coach – Speaker – Instructor)
Q) When would a project manager really have time for all this people stuff like stakeholder analysis and learning team member likes and dislikes? Won’t I be too busy managing the project and working on the schedule and budget? You know, doing the real work?
A) Well before I answer this question, I must in all honesty let you know that I bring it to you today because I receive it from students all the time. I am probably asked this question in one way or another almost every time I teach. That being said, if you are not a project manager, please keep reading anyway, I will reference project management in my reply but this is really about working with human beings.
Yes, when you are in charge of a team, you are in charge of making sure they hit their goal on schedule and on budget. A large part of your time is spent in receiving status, giving direction, identifying risks, resolving
issues and maintaining the schedule and the budget.
Now I ask you to take time to get to know the people around you. Step away from your workspace and have face-to-face (when possible) interactions with your stakeholders. Next I ask you to really think about what you know about your stakeholders. How do they want you to communicate with them? What are their strengths and weaknesses? What do they really expect to get from your project? What do you really need from them? Who do they have relationships with? Do you think they are in favor of your project or do they just wish it would end?
All of the above takes time and it is a dynamic process. As you get to know people better you learn more about them and as your relationship continues it will change. Hopefully it gets stronger and better.
All of this information helps you make better decisions about how to treat the people you work with and how to communicate with them in the most effective manner.
So what? What good does all this information do for you when you have stacks of paper work on your desk? The work is about the people; your project comes in on schedule and on budget because of the people who do the work. Not because of the paper work you complete. It is about the relationships.
You don’t have to do ‘all this people stuff’ you can stick to the science of project management and stay away from the art. I really wish you would pay attention to the people and to the art of project management. I really want you to embrace ‘peopleology’ as part of your work. I believe you will find it to be time well spent.
Margaret Meloni supports professionals as they deal with those random systems called human beings. Her clients master the technical and the human side of the workplace. Margaret helps information technology professionals master their human side through group coaching, individual coaching and self study all aimed at enhancing their interpersonal skills.
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JB King writes:
A flip side point to this though is that getting to know people doesn’t have to be done strictly on the company clock.