Learn best practices for facilitating project interactions.
- Do you know that project managers spend approximately 90% of the time communicating with stakeholders and most of that time is spent facilitating interactions between them. Some examples of project interactions include engaging in key stakeholders during initiation to solidify high level constraints, collaborating with contract management to finalize contracts, championing project teams to complete deliverables. It's easier to see this in play by looking at a project to deploy mobile devices.
I once worked for a wireless telecom company. In one case, I managed the deployment of mobile devices to sales people in the field. It started with me working with a client's procurement, sales and operations teams to make sure everyone was on the same page. This was no easy task given the number of people involved. The interactions continued as I took the initial scope back to our engineering team for them to review. They had technical questions they needed answered, so I had to set up a meeting between them and the respective team representatives from the customer side.
This level of interaction continued all the way through close out. As you can tell, quite a bit of time was spent engaging stakeholders from both the customer's end and my company's internal teams. What are some of the most important things you can do to facilitate project interactions? Here are some tips you can employ. Number one, identify key stakeholders. They may reside in a number of places, so make sure you identify as many as possible along with their interests, agendas and potential objections.
Number two, understand the big picture. One way to do this is to have stakeholders individually and collectively visualize what success looks like. Things aren't always communicated in black and white. There are fine shades of gray you need to take into account. This may require you to use your interpersonal skills so you can read between the lines and figure out what they really want. Number three, ensure there is strong support or the project vision. The sooner you can establish leadership buy in, the better.
It would also be a good idea to uncover project advocates and potential detractors so you can address their concerns early on. Number four, create and follow systems. When you manage a project, you need to have processes in place so your team doesn't come to you with every little detail. Number five, keep open lines of communication throughout your project. You want consistent, honest, open and clear communications. I want to give you one last tip. Be a conduit rather than a bottleneck on your projects.
This way, your projects will run smoothly.
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