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    Confessions of a Project Manager

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    by babs_1957 ·

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    • #3122136

      Confessions of a Project Manager

      by babs_1957 ·

      In reply to Confessions of a Project Manager

      These are the trials and tribulations of a baffled PM. If you can relate to this in any way, shape or form, please post. Recently, during my year end review, I sent out a survey to collect feedback regarding this year’s performance. Among the somewhat stellar comments, was a small, yet stinging comment left by some frustrated stakeholder: “[she] tends to over complicate problems and plans.” Ouch! What to do, what to do…. As a PM I am paid to be on the verge of paranoia. Without specific examples, I am left with a vague discomfort. How do I improve on this? Does anyone have any ideas?

      • #3127721

        Confessions of a Project Manager

        by code sailor ·

        In reply to Confessions of a Project Manager

        Unfortuately, I don’t have any specific ideas for your situation.  You are experiencing a living example of not pleasing all the people all of the time.  I do have some thoughts to consider thought.

        Did the survey include your project team members as well?  If so, what kind of feedback did they have regarding the level of deteail?  It is quite often the case that project managers and leaders need two views (not copies) of certain project artifacts.  Not only have I experienced this before, I am experiencing it now.  As an example, I am preparing business and requirement model artifacts “by the book” and creating a “summary view” for some of the stakeholders.

        Another area of concern is in conveying the complications associated with technology solutions.  Unfortunately, again, I don’t have an easy answer.  Sometimes technology is very complicated and the complications are beyond the understanding of stakeholders.  I liken it to the automatic transmission in my car.  If you tell me there’s a problem and it involves “such-n-such”, I’m just gonna have to trust you!  There is often no good way to get stakeholders to a level of understanding for technology.  Sometimes they ask questions for which they may not actually want the answer.

        Sorry that I don’t have any good answers but I feel your pain.  Best of luck!

      • #3127666

        Confessions of a Project Manager

        by babs_1957 ·

        In reply to Confessions of a Project Manager

        Thanks for the ideas and the empathy, Sailor.  The survey was sent out to people I worked with throughout the course of the past year including project team members and other stakeholders.  I have an idea that the group of people I sent this out to are not familiar with project management disciplines and artifacts and some of what I presented to them might have seemed overkill (“we fear that which we don’t understand”).  I like your idea about two views of project artifacts so I can keep the information user friendly.  My manager also suggested, and I confirmed it based on a CBT I am taking now, that I need to spend a bit of time managing expectations in terms of the level of rigor that is required by our organization (i.e., PM methodology, documentation, etc.) and what their involvement would be so that they know what to expect.

        In retrospect, this was only one comment among nine that was contrary to the rest of the feedback I received (excellent and outstanding in terms of communication).  However, I know better than to ignore any feedback.  After all, one of the reasons for soliciting feedback is to improve.

        Again, thanks for taking the time to reply to my post.

      • #3127636

        Confessions of a Project Manager

        by Anonymous ·

        In reply to Confessions of a Project Manager

        I have over my career received that point several times and have found a solution to meet that listeners needs and others. The solution requires:

                     

      • #3128755

        Confessions of a Project Manager

        by goldenhand ·

        In reply to Confessions of a Project Manager

        I think that is where some PM fails to understand is that their job is to translate and buffers stakeholders from complexities and water things down into manageable, comprehensible precise.

        If you engage an architect to design your house, the last thing you want him to tell you is all the complexities he or she faces. You are busy enough with your life and the last thing you want to do is pay someone to tell you problems. One of PM’s duty is to acknowledge risks and issues, then mitigate them appropriately. Stakeholders want solution/s not a list of complications that a project faces. You have a band of experts who is suppose to resolve those complexities. Many solution providers tell you what cannot be done and expect teh PM to come up with a solution. My response to those blockers are that we  took them on because of their expertise.

      • #3128737

        Confessions of a Project Manager

        by michael.crocker ·

        In reply to Confessions of a Project Manager

        Hi,
        This should not have come as a surprise.  At the end of each
        project you should be talking with the stakeholder to find out what
        went right and what needs to be improved.  It could be that your
        communications plan for that stakeholder needs to be updated to provide
        a summary and less details.  You did not provide details about the
        stakeholder (how large a project, how often and how long you have
        worked together, thier level in the company, and if they are
        new).  It would also be a good idea when you sent the survey to
        provide them with a reminder, such as completed within schedule,
        completed under budget, how large the project was, and how important it
        was to the company (to them it is a critical top priority).  That
        way, when a negative comment does come back, your boss has some
        context. 
        Mike Crocker

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