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The power of talking...

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Having problems motivating your project team in technical workshops, such as risk or requirements gathering? The business owners keep changing their mind, and you don’t know why? Your senior stakeholders seem distant and uninterested?

If any of these scenarios appear familiar, then keep reading...

Forget the project management methodology (for a short while of course), don’t focus on designing the perfect process or holding the ideal meeting. Instead, talk to your stakeholders. This is often the simplest, but most powerful tool in your arsenal.

Talking, more often than not, will help you in understanding your stakeholders gripes and woes. Consider this example:

  • You schedule in a risk workshop, and you receive negative feedback, i.e. “why do I need to attend”, “these sessions don’t add any value”, “I can’t bring anything to the table” – sounding familiar...?
  • You hold the workshop, and some members of your project team appear bored and unenthused.
  • You feel the session hasn’t gone as well as it could have, and the output is just ‘okay’.

Now, what could you have done differently?

  • When you receive negative feedback, spend a little time and go and speak to the individual. They will appreciate the effort on your behalf...
  • Be open, and ask about their concerns. Try to draw out their motivations for providing the feedback.
  • Explain the reasons for the session and give some context. The feedback may have come from a time when they experienced a badly run workshop, or they don’t feel confident in risk management for example.
  • This approach lets you understand the individuals behaviour a little better, and what motivated them to provide the feedback – you can then take the best course of action.
  • You’ll now have a common understanding, and I bet the individuals input into the session will be better – adding more value.

So, the next time you’re facing people challenges, then think powerful and talk to your stakeholders. Talking seeks an understanding and can spark creativity, which will enhance delivery and build stronger, more trusting relationships.


Posted by Adam Juniper on 21st Mar 2014

About the Author

A Certified Project Manager with a diverse project portfolio. Experienced in both business change (IT, Transformational, Strategic, Financial) and facilities project management. An energetic leader, who stives to deliver projects successfully everytime. Has a genuine passion for the ‘people’ aspects of project management. People deliver projects; not processes… Take pride in my career. Keen to consistently improve academically and progress in my working environment. On-going Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme through the APM to build upon competence areas. Learn - Develop - Improve

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