Situation

The project team is overworked and the project decisions they are faced with can be controversial and difficult. Lately when the team gathers for meetings to make important decisions they feel rushed for time.  Although none of them want to admit it, their project decisions are often rubber stamped or treated as unimportant just so that they can move on and get out of the meeting.

Since this has happened repeatedly on this project they are all feeling disgusted with themselves as well as demoralized. They are the project management “team” and they will all be held accountable for the success of the project. However, at this rate none of them truly thinks it will end successfully due to the poor decisions that have been made and continue to be made.

What Project Management Tools & Techniques Should be Used?

This has mildly dysfunctional written all over it and it is very, very common. This situation goes ignored in many organizations much too often.

Tools and techniques that can help include the following:

 Gradients of Agreement Chart. See the example with step 27 in the workbook. Asking meeting participants for their level of agreement, based on the gradients of agreement chart, provides people with an easy way to verbalize their level of agreement to a decision. It also saves time by allowing the group to quickly determine if they are all in agreement. If they all already agree, indepth conversation may not be required. If they are not in agreement, it provides the forum for those with differing opinions to articulate their points of contention.

 RAM. See the example with step 22 (HR plan) in the workbook. The responsibility assignment matrix will help make sure that only the right people are involved with the meetings and with certain types of decisions. And if you still find them all ambivalent, add the Devil’s advocate role to the RAM.

 Consult with SMEs. See step 10 in the workbook. Sometimes work and technical expertise is best handled by subject matter experts from outside your direct project team… especially when your team is overworked and has developed a history of not making great decisions on this project.

 Network diagrams and workload leveling. See steps 16 in the workbook. Showing the flow of the project work would help you show and better plan the work for your project team. This should help in performing workload leveling, which will protect your team from being too overworked. 

 Be a motivating project leader. In addition to being a great project manager, also either gain the support of the sponsor for the project leader role, or take it on the leadership responsibilities of inspiring teamwork, align employees, motivating and supporting the team.