Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Human Factor in Project Management

By Kevin Ciccotti.

If you’re a Project Management Professional, one thing I know about you is that you tend to love data and statistics. You’re constantly collecting, analyzing, and combing through information to validate or mitigate project issues that you may encounter. Fair enough. Data is incredibly important in our world. And sometimes we become so obsessed with data and statistics, that we miss what’s right in front of us.

Let’s talk for a moment about why projects fail. I know, not very sexy. We don’t like to focus on things that make us feel uncomfortable. And yet, by avoiding those things, we set ourselves up to repeat them. I was involved in project work for my former company for about 18 years, and have been working with PM’s as a coach for more than four years now, and the one thing I know is that projects can and do fail.

When we hold post mortem meetings to review “What went wrong?” we typically have as many answers to that question as there are people in the room. Poor communication, unclear expectations, scope creep, lack of engagement, and on and on. Certainly many of those things can and do impact our projects. When it comes to managing projects, you can have the best resources, well-defined processes, a terrific blueprint, and clearly articulated goals and outcomes. Still, the success or failure of your project will depend largely on one decisive factor – The Human Factor.

In the end, it’s not the processes alone that will determine whether you succeed in your implementation; it’s the people who are implementing those processes. Now don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying proper planning, scheduling, processes, and testing aren’t necessary. On the contrary, they are an integral part of any small or large-scale project. It’s simply that most Project Managers invest so much time and effort to plan for all the possible contingencies and still overlook the fact that a cohesive team is critical to the success of their project.

In my work as a certified professional coach, my main area of expertise is relationships, and specifically helping people create empowered, sustainable relationships. Now, the first thing that may come to mind is, “Why should I care about relationships at work, and why is it in an article for Project Mangers?” The truth is that all of life is about relationships. And in the world of project management, the relationships you develop with your teams can be the difference between success and… well, something less.

When it comes to building strong, cohesive teams, there is no silver bullet. There is, however, a way to take into consideration many of the pitfalls of the teambuilding process and circumvent them in positive ways. Creating powerful, integrated, synergistic teams is not only possible; it is essential to the success of any business endeavor. When you take into consideration The Human Factor, you bring all of the complexities of relationships to bear on the formation and development of your project teams – and you set up the game so that you can win!

“The Human Factor in Project Management” webinar takes an integrated, behavioral approach to assembling and leading successful project teams. It touches on the ways most PM’s go wrong when leading teams, the single biggest reason for conflict on teams, the most important thing to do with every project team from the start, and the five most important words a PM can say to create trust.

The foundation of my work is built upon a concept called Human Needs Psychology*. The simple, undeniable fact is that everything we think, say, or do is done to meet a need on some level. The question is whether we’re meeting the need through conscious choice or unconscious reaction. Simply put, the premise is that all humans have the same six basic needs. However, the differences come into play based on how each one of us prioritize those needs, and the strategies we use to meet those needs.

How we prioritize those needs in the context of our own lives determines the decisions we make on a consistent basis. Understanding how others prioritize their needs can provide a method for communication and change management that goes far beyond the norm. It is like having a master key that unlocks the mysteries of human behavior. In “The Human Factor in Project Management” webinar I’ll provide an introduction to Human Needs Psychology and some insights into the impact our needs have on behavior.

If you’re seeking the most effective tools and strategies being taught today for leading your project teams, “The Human Factor in Project Management” webinar has them! This is a no-cost 90-minute webinar packed with useful content and strategies, and I promise it will shift your understanding of how you and others make decisions and work together.

* Human Needs Psychology is a process for explaining human behavior that was first proposed by Anthony Robbins based on his interventions with more than 3 million people around the world. The premise is that we all have patterns of behavior, and once understood, those behaviors can be changed to produce positive results.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Kevin...Itz time to emphasize the "Human Factor" in Project Management...How much we recognize and dignify the contributors...Make team encourage to perform at level best, enable them to empower, develop their leadership skills rather than only monitor and control...I would definitely like to see the changed world...


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