Leveraging Clarity and Significance for Success
by Radhia Benalia, PhD, PMP, PMI-RMP, Green Project Manager
“The best involvement that a project sponsor/executive can offer is to give clarity from the beginning of an initiative”. Clarity is essential in the front-end (initiation) as well as throughout the project .
Assumptions, for instance, can be a mine-field of risks and a lack of clarity can often lead to more unidentified risks - which will easily turn into issues. In addition, there is a “natural” tendency with many project managers, even a "deformation professionnelle", to go along with assumptions, especially if they are experienced in projects where a pattern is usually already set. This is often why they will not challenge the information provided.
Tolerating some level of uncertainly is undoubtedly part of managing and directing projects, but why not maximizing our chances of success by asking for clarifications and then providing team with the clarity they need?
So what are questions that should be asked? What can we do to provide a good level of clarity to help achieve project or initiative success?
Please find below 20 recommendations to leverage clarity and significance for achieving better results:
- Provide/Request clarity on expected value to help set direction and define criteria.
- Understand and convey significance for future (of organization if project is internal or for client's future objectives).
- Understand and convey significance of the project for client’s financial goals.
- Understand appropriate priority set with organization.
- Set Gate reviews to re-evaluate value (of initiative) for organization.
- Show the “What’s In It for me?” to everyone because shared purpose and significance promotes engagement and motivation. Also, understanding the level of perceived significance enables clarity on level of effort needed to keep a motivated team.
- Develop a Clear Project Charter with indicators of success and KPIs. . KPIs should be linked to strategic objectives. Client says what “getting done” looks like.
- Establish Business and Technical Objectives Objectives aligned with strategy and direction.
- Clarify roles and responsibilities/accountabilities. Do not leave loopholes. Project Governance should be clear: "Who decides what?"
- Clarify how team members' competencies and skills match or develop with those tasks.
- Show value of everyone’s work. People are motivated by their own contribution.
- Clarify tasks/deadlines, but also why those tasks and deadlines/milestones are important.
- Project Manager (PM) and project team (PT) should know significance of some tasks over others.
- Make Issue escalation procedure clear to all.
- Provide clear requirements and directions.
- Make mechanics to deal with risks clear.
- (Project Sponsor) PS and PM should ask Wh questions: What are we trying to do? Why? When can we do it? How can we do it in a better way?
- PS avoids using an unnecessary filter with PM.
- Set clear communication channels (for client too) set and explained/clarify who the go-to-person is.
- Establish and maintain a simple and descriptive language.
Investing in clarity and significance is truly worthwhile. Do not miss out on it.
Written by Dr. Radhia Benalia on 30 April, 2018
Get in touch with her directly on firstname.lastname@example.org