Strategic Project Management–Managing People Dynamics (part 1)

In the book Strategic Project Management Made Simple, Terry Schmidt introduces the Logical Framework Matrix as a tool for creating a strategic plan (chapters 1-8), and for executing, monitoring & controlling that plan (chapter 9).   In the 10th chapter, he changes the focus to show how the Logical Framework Matrix can be used not just to manage the tasks, activities, and the resources needed to complete them, but the very people who are doing those tasks and activities, i.e., the project team.    It can also be used as a springboard for managing those people outside of the project team who can influence the project for better or for ill, in other words, the stakeholders.

1.  The Project Team–The Heart and Soul of a Project

The key premise of the first part of this chapter is the following:  how you develop a project plan and who you involve is as important as the actual plan itself.   What this means is that if people participate in the development of a project plan, then have more buy-in and less resistance to carrying it out.

The Logical Framework Matrix, by providing a reference point by which the entire project team can develop the project plan, can also provide a rallying point for the morale of the team.

The second part of the premise is about who you involve in the project plan.   In the kickoff meeting, you may want to invite key stakeholders, especially upper management, to your meeting.   Even if they do not attend, the fact that you have invited them gives a signal automatically that you are open to input from outside the project team.    That doesn’t necessarily mean you will act on every suggestion, but you will at least listen to every suggestion.

If upper management does not attend, if you at least put out the agenda of the kickoff meeting, they might also have the opportunity to give their suggestions before the meeting that you may want to discuss with the project team.   Again, this is a gesture to let them know that their concerns are being heard.

Finally, after the project team meetings, you need to inform the key stakeholders of the results of the meetings so that they can at least have a chance to give input before the following meeting.    Those in the project team itself, of course, will be engaged during the course of the meeting in constructing the project plan so that they cannot help but feel a sense of personal responsibility towards its successful completion.

In the next post, I will go into some more detail about how Terry Schmidt recommends you engage the stakeholders throughout the course of the project.


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