Project Management – Gaining Buy-in for the Methodology During Execution
This is a common challenge and has all kinds of manifestations. When things are going well, your team might not see the value in updating the progress reports or project task completion. After all, it’s going well why bother with more work? When things are not going so well, they don’t have time to fill out reports, update logs and raise issues the right way.
What do you see happening?
Because each team will show this in different ways at different times, I’ll focus on the two things I’ve found to be at the heart of the resistance, value and effort.
If your team doesn’t understand the value of the methodology, they will resist using it because it seems like more work.
If your team thinks that the effort is not worthwhile, they will find other uses for their time.
Sell the value by remembering that you aren’t always looking for immediate results. Completing decision documents, as an example, is more to prevent knee jerk reversals in the future of the project than coming up with good options when the answer seems obvious. We know that completing the analysis will sometimes show the ‘obvious’ to be the least useful solution, but it doesn’t necessarily feel that way when we’re busy.
Make the effort worthwhile by using the information created. The best example of this is lessons learned. If your project team gives honest feedback on something to improve project performance and no one takes the time to review the results before initiating the next project, you can bet there will be no enthusiasm to do lessons learned sessions in the future.
How can you resolve it beyond treating symptoms?
I think flexibility is the key here. If you use the methodology as a tool, you’ll find different ways to apply it. If time is tight, can you use an email discussion as your documentation? Being flexible means that you’ll print to PDF and save that rather than trying to complete the official form.
When your team sees you being flexible, but still sticking to the core methodology, you might get some of them to help champion others using the tools you’ve created.
A final thought:
One thing you need to keep in mind, if you don’t buy-in to the methodology you can’t expect the team to do so. If you haven’t had your own experience with the value of methodology to convince you, I’ll share one of mine.
A project a colleague was running had come in on time, within budget and with all agreed scope. The grapevine started a rumor that it was a failure. Without a solid methodology of documentation, we would have been defending the project for months. Because we documented well, we were able to provide all the information needed to prove that the grapevine was wrong.
Over the last 30 years of people and project management, Perry Wilson, PMP has a track record of delivering successful projects. Along with four merger projects, she have implemented project management methodology in two Project Management Offices, working with certified project managers and people new to project management. In gaining that experience, Perry learned some key steps to successful implementation of tools.