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Monday, November 28, 2011

Politics and Projects

Here is a list of things to keep in mind when managing projects in a highly politicized environment:

  • Learn to negotiate from a position of strength
  • Do everything you can to educate those around you about Project Management. Stress the benefits and overcome the objections by pointing to your successes.
  • Master the art of influence.
  • Understand that masterful politicians are sometimes helpful to you and your project, but can also be detriment to your project's success.
  • An effective executive sponsor can help minimize political time wasting events that slow project progress and increase project budgets.
  • Recognize that conflict on your project is inevitable and necessary.How you respond to conflict will determine how successful you are.
  • Mastering the art of negotiation is a critical skill for project managers.
  • Negotiate up front how much power you will have as project manager, how and where it can be used, and when it applies to securing needed resources for your project.
  • Realize that for the most part internal politics wastes time and is usually not something that people enjoy.
  • Team commitment and loyalty will help to minimize project politics.
  • Don't fight a political system you don't understand and can't influence. Leave that to the experts. (Hint: get these experts to support your project if possible).
  • A good communications plan will help to lessen the politics on your project.
  • Every project usually has at least one "politician" in the organization that is out to either sabotage it, or will try to ensure that it isn't fully implemented.
  • Recognize that change (which is what projects are all about) scares some people and your project's deliverables can lead to a loss of power or influence for certain individuals or departments. Anticipate this and have a plan to deal with the behaviors that will surface.

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