Perspectives in and on Projects

Why do so many projects fail to meet expectations?

On a project team, different perspectives are both valuable and challenging.

On a project team, different perspectives are both valuable and challenging.

Because everyone involved has a different perspective and understanding of the project plan and expectations, which leads a project to lack fidelity. When it is no longer be true to our original intention the project gets off course, stuck, fragmented, unable to live up to our vision.

Project infidelity becomes the elephant in the room. It impacts the success of the project and everyone involved.

The cause of the problem is ineffective listening, communication, engagement and collaboration – critical to project success.

The project team needs to create a process and environment for effective listening and communication, giving the entire team access to each person’s knowledge, experience and insights. Then this transparent team can develop a common vision, as well as the flexibility to learn as you go and respond not just to the original plan, but to the reality of each moment in time every day.

This is certainly true of major software projects. In fact, a recent MESA International webcast with Johnson Controls was an example where everyone did develop a common vision. Stakeholders up and down the chain were involved and got onto the same page. The execution was much easier as a result of getting all of those views out onto the table in a non-confrontational way. (MESA members can access this webcast here.)

In contrast, I have spoken with many companies whose MES projects failed. MES touches so many disciplines and groups in the company, and some of the people who initiate the project may never even consider these other groups – who can be obstacles to project success at any state of the project. That is something that experience can assist with, as well as good facilitation and broad-reaching discussions as the project team is forming.

No matter who is involved in a project, there are core principles of being present to each other and the project at hand that can establish the foundation for success. Learn about these principles and specific aspects of project and team success in my upcoming series of no-cost teleseminars beginning Wednesday May 20! Learn more and register here.

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