The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
Published February, 2012

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Understanding People | Downside | Summary

Understanding People

Communicate as others need you to communicate to them

If you have followed the evolution of the author's thoughts thus far, it will come as no surprise that his advice and tips on how to effectively communicate with people fills the greater part of the book. This ranges from a simple understanding of how communication works, through communicating in today's modern world of Emails and social media, to emphasizing that "reporting is not communicating". As he says:

"Putting together fantastically accurate and detailed reports and sending them to anyone and everyone is most definitely not communicating. They won't be read - no one has the time or interest to do this - and they won't be valued and worse, when they do contain project-critical information, they will be ignored. You are wasting your time."[15]

But to understand people, that is to say the stakeholders on your project, especially including your project's sponsor and everyone else involved, you need to categorize them. For this, Peter likes to use several of his 2x2 grids such as the example shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: The Power Grid
Figure 2: The Power Grid[16]

By categorizing people in this way, you can get an idea of how you should work with them. This is particularly useful in the case of your project sponsor for getting an indication of how much support you are likely to get. For example, if you end up with a project sponsor that is in the 'low interest' and 'low power' quadrant, then you really have a problem.[17]

A particularly tendentious area of "communications" with which almost all project managers will be familiar, but which is rarely dealt with under this heading, is the "project creep". That is the person, or persons, that, for whatever reason, urge changes that individually may be incremental and minor but collectively add up to a serious scope creep and potential project derailment. These people need to be carefully managed and Peter sets out ways and means for doing so.

What We Liked  What We Liked

15. Ibid, p62
16. Ibid, p38
17. Ibid.
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page