Sunday, July 15, 2012

Try This Exercise At Your Next Project Kickoff Meeting

Here's a great exercise to do at your next Project Kickoff Meeting.

Seat people in two rows facing each other, with each person on one side holding one of the suggested nine key stakeholder roles shown in the chart here.  Adapt or add roles as necessary to match the roles that you have on your project.

On the other side, each person will hold the role of the Project Manager, paired with the person across from them representing one of the nine key stakeholders .

It is best for everyone to participate, so if you have more than eighteen attending add to each group as appropriate.

Now assign each paired grouping one of the key stakeholder/project manager roles and ask all groups to take five minutes to ten minutes to come up with what they expect from the other party.

For example the "Client Sponsor" group will define what they expect from the Project Manager (e.g. "I, the Client Sponsor will expect you, the Project Manager to get the project in on time and budget, keep me informed of progress, issues" etc)

The paired Project Manager group in turn will define what they expect from the Client Sponsor (e.g. "I, the Project Manager, will expect you, the Client Sponsor to provide clear project requirements, obtain the necessary project funding, support Change and Risk Management" etc).  

Now the nice benefit from this exercise is that it will help all the project stakeholders realize that every stakeholder group has quite different expectations of the Project Manager and that the Project Manager in turn has quite different expectations from each of the stakeholders.  This exercise will help in team building by driving home the point, that for the project to be successful, all these different needs and expectations have to be met and each stakeholders needs are only a small but important part of the project.

But here's a most interesting additional benefit of this exercise.  By encouraging everyone to "see through the eyes of others", project problems and issues are more likely to be addressed and resolved in a win-win manner.

The next time you are faced with a project issue, look at it through the eyes of the stakeholder(s) involved.  You are more likely to come up with a viable win-win resolution, than by just trying to address the problem from your own perspective to satisfy just your own particular needs.

Try this simple problem solving approach out on your next project issue and let us know how well it worked for you.

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