Thought Leadership part 2

Posted on: March 31st, 2013 by csaunders No Comments

Firstly you should have a solid project charter document. Don’t even think of ‘kicking things off’ if you don’t have a signed project charter doc. that explains (i) what you are going to be doing and (ii) why you are doing it.

Your charter doc. needs to be signed off by the sponsors and stakeholders, approved by finance and the exec, and distributed to every one in the delivery project team – so that everyone knows where you going and how you will know when you have reached your destination.

Secondly don’t under estimate the simple act of creating a list of ‘guiding principles’.

Building a table of all of the ‘very big agreements’, that lists all of the architectural and company-wide decisions made in the ‘pre-project’ phase, will save a huge amount of time making sure that all team players know what’s going on and preventing a great deal of time wasting that occurs when individuals attempt to re-litigate issues and big decisions that have already been agreed before the project even started.

Make sure your project team know what the exec have communicated to the company as this year’s objectives.

List all of the pan-project agreements, programme-level decisions and corporate-wide guiding principles that have a direct bearing on your project.

Ensure all architectural design rules and infrastructure laws are listed in your table as well.

That way every member of your team can refer to the table of ‘guiding principles’ and quickly understand the ‘rules of the game’ and the logic behind the outside constraints that ought to be guiding your designers to produce a suitable outcome.

Thirdly make sure you also create a ‘living’ version of a ‘guiding principles’ table that is internal and specific to your project only.

This ‘specific version’ simply records all the common agreements made internally to your project during the life of the initiative.

The ‘project agreements’ table serves the same function as the ‘guiding principles’ table but is focused only on what decisions are made locally to the project team’s objectives rather than company-wide decisions.

Both tables save significant time wasting due to wheel-spinning and re-litigation.

Lastly don’t be sparing with pictures and diagrams. No one likes to read screeds of text.

Ensure your architects and designers produce pictures with every document. Place them in prominent places around the team or on the project intranet so everyone can see a visual model of the information.

Pictures help communicate so many difficult concepts and ideas, nothing helps your team absorb complex stuff like a picture or a diagram. As they say “A picture is worth a thousand words” so help your team become ‘speed-readers’ with plenty of pictures.

The simple act of writing things down and drawing pictures creates medium for the exchange of information that during the process itself becomes a mechanism for also accelerating the group consensus around every agreement.

Once something is written down everyone can inspect it and talk to it and communicate clearly and efficiently.

Not only that, but the realationship between human understanding and language is so intertwined that it’s actually a known cognitive principle, that the inability to express something in language is an indicator of the failure or inability to grasp a concept or idea completely.

It’s as if, for those without words or a lexicon of the concept or idea being considered and discussed, that the thing does not exist at all and they will act accordingly without reference to the ‘gap’ in their knowledge.

When you become adept at sharing information like a gossipy housewife from a daytime t.v. soap-opera your whole team will silently thank you for making their lives easier and their world will be a whole less frustrating as well.

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