Where Are We/ Are We There Yet?
By: W. Scott Cameron, PRG Advisor
A manufacturing plant was installing a new packing line. This was a $10 million project and came at a time of high-volume demand on their existing business. I was the Project Manager (PM) but would soon be transitioning to another assignment. Before leaving the project, I wanted to resolve as many outstanding issues as possible so the new PM could begin work with a “clean slate”. At the project kickoff meeting before our transition, I sensed the project team did not fully understand the execution process we were planning to use nor each other’s role in this process. To add to my concern new project team members needed to be brought up-to-speed on the project’s work to date.
Several actions were possible in this situation. One was to simply to let the new PM deal with the problem. Another action was to meet with the project team members and their managers and share expectations about the planned execution process. This option would communicate the project philosophy but would supply little detail nor the right kind of information to them about their project roles. Since I had recently been working with various project training programs, I opted to implement a second “training” kickoff/transition project meeting.
This action turned out to be the correct one. We scheduled a one-day meeting and trained the project personnel on the total project execution requirements and their roles and responsibilities so they were better able to ascertain the total breadth of their role in the project, as well as where we were in the execution process. Over 80% of the project team believed the project was further along than it really was. At the completion of the training, everyone understood what was required to successfully meet the project’s success criteria.
During 1:1 discussion with project team members after the training, it became 100% clear the project team did not fully understand the execution process although no one would admit to this fact if asked in a group setting. Thus, the one-day training provided an essential learning for me to continually check and challenge my assumptions and look for signs of uncertainty or misunderstanding within the project team.
The Premier Resources Group (PRG) Advisors can help your Company avoid this type of project problem by helping to identify misalignment on project teams. Whether PRG Advisors are brought in during the initial conceptual or definition phases, or are asked to provide peer review feedback later in the project lifecycle, our PRG Advisory Services Teams’ vast industry experience can help identify project quagmires and promote successful, and timely, project completion.