No show, third in a row.
Anna, a PM, holds a weekly Zoom status meeting with Jade, the project sponsor. At the beginning of the project, Jade was a great partner and a strong supporter for Anna.
As the project went on, Jade’s involvement became more and more sporadic. Sometimes she responded to emails, other times she didn’t. Anna sent Jade status reports and rarely got responses. The rest of the project team noticed Jade’s declining involvement and was growing concerned. “Does Jade still care?” Anna would hear from the team.
Anna, a professional, did her best to keep the team motivated and engaged, but she too was wondering what to make of Jade’s disappearing act.
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I’ve been a sponsor, worked as a PM with sponsors, and advised both sponsors and PMs. By and large, sponsors and PMs are both trying to do the right thing—understand a problem, figure out how to solve it, and work together to implement a solution that addresses the problem.
Even with the best of intentions of all concerned, the sponsor/PM dance can feel more like one is doing a jitterbug and the other a waltz. Often, it’s the PM who sees the difference and has trouble getting the sponsor to take the same steps. This is not only frustrating, but can materially impact—if not completely tank—the project.
Before we get too far down the road on this topic, I’d like to lock down a number of assumptions regarding the sponsor:
Read more at ProjectManagement.com
So let’s talk about over-used terms for a minute.
If you’ve been in the business world for any length of time you’ve likely heard your management espouse the desire for employees to achieve greater work/life balance. Many U.S. companies have adopted programs to help employees strike a better life balance by providing health club benefits, entertainment discount programs, and additional time off for events such as the birth of a child. Despite all this, Americans are of the most overworked and flat-out busy people on earth, recently surpassing the Japanese and long surpassing the Europeans. With all this discussion of work/life balance, how can we in the U.S. also be of the most overworked people in the world? The answer is pretty simple; many of us talk work/life balance, but don’t live work/life balance primarily because we don’t know how to do it.
As of this article, my wife and I are in process of buying a car. We are looking for a very specific model with “must-have” features, like exterior color and interior appointments. At one dealer in particular, the salesperson was clearly trying to endear himself to me, wanting to talk about things that I wouldn’t generally talk about with someone I just met—and had nothing to do with buying a car.
Now, I’m a relational guy and love to learn more about people—but I can also tell when someone is manipulating me. His dis-ingenuousness made me not want to work with him. I was looking to buy a car and wanted to stay focused on what needed to be done to buy the car, but the salesperson was trying to work me. I ended up walking away and will avoid doing business with the salesperson in the future.
You might be asking what buying a car has to do with being a project manager. So much of what a project manager does is about relationships—guiding and working with others to deliver something on time, on budget, and within scope.
However, relationships aren’t one size fits all. Depending on the situation and the parties involved, I’ve found that relationships can take on one of three forms, as follows:
Read more at ProjectManagement.com.
In an earlier leadership role I had been striving to create focus and accountability within each of our major work areas. The team responded beautifully with doing their best to adjust to roles, to stay focused on their areas, and to minimize confusion by stepping across boundaries. They did exactly as I asked.
We were in a team meeting and I could see that there was erupting confusion around contacting customers in an effort to close some sales. There was a lot of respect for my sales & marketing manager in not stepping in on her turf when it came to customers. Where the problem arose, though, was in the fact that the team was confused as to who was supposed to be following up on some key sales activity that had begun prior to our organizational re-alignment.
So maybe you think you're all that and a bag of chips and that you can get more things done than most people in your organization. As managers, though, it's not just about you getting things done on your own; it's about you getting your team to be as effective (or more) as you.
I deliberately use the term effective versus efficient. For me, there is a very clear distinction which I believe is crucial in driving results.
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