Ring of Fire

Great! Your organization has identified a project and assigned a project manager. Is it done yet? Not so fast! The project manager needs to create a solid, well-defined project plan that identifies participants, stakeholders, sponsors, and a timeline.

As talented as your project manager is, they cannot work in a vacuum. They need to strictly define the project and its objectives, recruit participants (or more likely, cajole “voluntolds” - those told to help), schedule updates for stakeholders and sponsors, and create an achievable timeline. Sometimes participants are solely tasked with working on the project and sometimes they’re expected to manage this additional work with their day to day responsibilities. If your project manager has listened and asked questions, they can easily define the project and its objectives, stakeholders, and sponsors (if not, see previous blog post). This creates a “ring of fire” around the project, clearly defining the scope and deliverables.

Timelines need to incorporate feedback from all participants to ensure success for the project, participants, and organization. Sponsors and stakeholders need to be sympathetic to participants’ outside demands (both at work and at home) in addition to the complexity of the project work. No, the project can’t be “done yesterday” and the project manager and sponsor need to push back on unrealistic expectations. The project manager also needs to communicate clearly and regularly with sponsors and stakeholders to ensure everyone is engaged in the project’s progress and any problems that arise.

The ring of fire not only stops outsiders and sponsors from changing the scope without changing everything else (timeline, participants, goals, etc.), it puts everyone involved on the hot seat. Those not on the project team will continue to turn up the heat, hoping to push a faster completion (or possibly failure). A well-defined project plan and engaged project team can use this ring of fire to protect themselves and their goals.

Does your company have change that needs to be implemented but lacks internal capacity and/or resources? Would your company benefit from a consultation to unlock its full potential? Contact Beck Insights (www.beckinsights.com) and we'll work together to determine the right solution for your business.