Working with People on Projects

Working with People on Projects

  1. Working with individuals
    1. Emotional Intelligence – the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumens of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection and influence.
      1. self-awareness
      2. self-regulation
      3. empathy
      4. relationship management
    2. Personality types – what motivates people, how they process information, how they handle conflict
      1. MBTI – classifies the way individuals prefer to use their perception (awareness of people and environment) and judgement (evaluation of perceptions).
        1. Introversion/Extroversion – focus
        2. Sensing/Intuition – approaching information
        3. Thinking/Feeling – making decisions
        4. Judging/Perceiving – planning
      2. DISC
        1. Dominance/Drive – control, power, assertiveness
        2. Inducement/Influence – social situations and communication
        3. Submission/Steadiness – patience, persistence, thoughtfulness
        4. Compliance/Conscientiousness – structure and organization
      3. It is important to understand differences between people’s styles and identify potential sources of conflict.
    3. Leadership styles
      1. A function of the characteristics of the leader and the environment
        1. Most people have a leadership style they are most comfortable in, but they often need to adapt to the needs of their environment (assignments, projects)
        2. Different styles are often needed for different phases of a project and a skilled PM will adapt
    4. Leadership Skills
      1. (Active) Listening
        1. placing oneself in the speaker’s place
        2. understanding the information from the speaker’s pov
        3. paying attention to body language and other cues
        4. striving to understand
        5. helps develop a more complete understanding
        6. Techniques
          1. Listening and observing intently
          2. Nodding and expressing interest
          3. Providing feedback and asking for clarity. Repeating a summary back.
          4. Expressing understanding and empathy
      2. Negotiation – developing mutually acceptable outcomes. The purpose is to get the most value from the project.
        1. Separate people from the problem
        2. Focus on common interests
        3. Generate options that advance shared interests
        4. Develop results based on standard criteria
      3. Conflict Resolution
        1. Responses – useful in different situations
          1. Avoiding
          2. Forcing
          3. Collaborating
          4. Compromising
          5. Accommodating
      4. Delegation – the PM needs to evaluate the knowledge, skills and abilities of project members and the complexity and difficulty of assignments to match them up.
    5. Adjusting Leadership Styles – people have preferences, but their possibilities are more flexible both in leadership and conflict resolution.
  2. Working with Groups
    1. Trust – The foundation of all project relationship. Necessary for communication, which is necessary for keeping on top of costs and schedules. The filter we use for information we receive.
      1. Contracts and trust relationships
        1. a project usually starts with a charter or contract. These are useful for establishing scope, but not for establishing a trusting culture.
        2. The larger the project the more important it is to move past the contract and establish trust.
      2. Types of trust
        1. objective credibility –  personal characteristic, can be checked against facts
        2. attribution of benevolence – conclusion that a person’s motives are not hostile
        3. non-manipulative trust – correlates with self-interest and how likely a person is to act consistently with that self-interest
        4. high cost of lying
      3. Creating trust – starts with the project manager.
        1. A PM can create the above types of trust
        2. information communication establishes personal trust
    2. Managing Team Meetings – affected by the purpose of the meeting, leadership style and the personality types of the team
      1. Action item meetings
        1. Short  and short term.
        2. Meant to develop common understandings of priorities, roles, and expectations. For sharing, not problem solving.
        3. Fact based and information oriented.
      2. Management meetings
        1. longer and focused on planning (developing and tracking)
        2. developing midterm goals
        3. combination of fact based and creative thinking
        4. discover obstacles to goal achievement
      3. Leadership meetings
        1. less frequent, and longer in length
        2. reflect on the project, explore larger issues, evaluation
        3. focused on creativity and innovation
    3. Teams
      1. Situations where teams are effective
        1. no person has the skills needed to understand/solve the problem
        2. commitment to the solution is necessary
        3. the problem and the solution cross project functions
        4. innovation is required
      2. Individuals can outperform teams
        1. speed is important
        2. one person has the skills needed to solve the problem
        3. the activities involved in solving the problem are very detailed
        4. the document needs to be written
      3. Types of teams
        1. Functional teams –  related to project functions (engineer, procurement)
        2. Cross-functional teams – address issues and processes that include multiple functional teams
        3. Problem-solving teams – designed to address specific issues
    4. Qualitative assessment of project performance
      1. PMs should provide opportunities for reflection and dialogue with team members
      2. Capturing the humm of project with a survey, many things don’t make it into reports.
    5. Developing a project story (elevator speech)
      1. Develops over time, a positive one helps the project.
      2. must identify the unique aspects of the project and build a positive outcome
  3. Creating a project culture
    1. Characteristics of a project culture
      1. shared norms, beliefs, values and assumptions of the team
      2. developed through communication of the priority, the given status, the alignment of official (stated) and operational (enforced) rules
    2. Culture of stakeholders
      1. communications – language, context, candor
      2. negotiations
      3. decision making
    3. Innovation on projects
      1. different projects require a different amount of innovation
      2. Environments can hamper or support innovation


  1. We are all making judgements, so we might as well recognize that we are and use them to improve our relationships
  2. People need to be treated a certain way based on their personalities
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