Sometimes your team can feel like the work involved in the project methodology is just more work. This is a challenge of selling value to people. Often project managers are fluent in value to the project, but struggle to translate that into value to the team.
What do you see happening?
When the team is not sold on the methodology, you see one of two symptoms. People question why they need to do certain things,
or people don’t produce what you need. We’ll concentrate on these two symptoms because they happen at the beginning and that’s where you need to resolve it.
In either circumstance, being prepared to sell the concepts is your best solution. And like many sales techniques, preparation is your friend. Before you talk to the team, before you hold the kick-off meeting, think about the value of initiation, planning, estimating and reporting to the team member.
I like to think of value as solving or avoiding problems.
Initiation activities – your team is likely a group of executives or managers.
- The value of doing a thorough job of initiating the project: saves them time in the future by clearly defining what is expected.
Planning and estimating activities – your team is likely the project team leads and the team members.
- The value of doing a good job of building the plan and schedule: saves them effort in the future by building a reliable road map.
Reporting activities – your team is likely the project team leads.
- The value of reporting consistently and regularly: saves time, effort and money by revealing challenges as they arise and allowing for early resolution.
As you prepare your value statements, remember value is about saving time or money or effort or making money.
How can you resolve it beyond treating symptoms?
When the project gets into the busy times, people will want to cut out unnecessary work. You need to remember to sell the value of the methodology and be flexible about what really needs to be done. There will be times when the work of the project is going to push off the work of the methodology, the key to success is to remember that’s your decision, not something you want to just let slide.
A final thought:
Like many aspects of project management, your sponsor can help with this challenge. It is important for your sponsor to be selling the value too. This means you have to have your script in place to remind them of two things; the value to your team that we discussed above and the value of the methodology to your sponsor.