Project Management Tips

7. How can I get support from managers who don't have a direct stake in my project but from whom I need resources, like some of their people?

 

The issue of support from people outside your direct control is a common one. Most projects are staffed by people from several areas of the organization, rarely do they report (in the traditional sense) to the project manager. They are, in effect, "borrowed" resources and they're usually "borrowed" from someone who already had plans for them.

 

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One way to build support is to carefully connect the goal of your project to larger goals in the organization. You should be able to show how achieving your project goal will further the goals of your own area. Try to develop the same connection between the project goal and the goals of those managers from whom you need support.

 

The farther up the organizational chain you can draw this line, the better. Start with your work group. Move on to your department. Then to your division, etc. Try to pick up the necessary managers along the way.

 

Depending on the project, you might try looking for goals that involve such things as interdepartmental cooperation; customer service improvements; productivity improvements; divisional revenue enhancements; new product introductions, etc. The tighter the connection, the stronger your case for the support. Using higher-level, longer-term goals as the basis for your request can frequently overcome short-term objections.

 

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As to my background, I have been a partner in Management Resources, a Portland, Oregon consulting and training firm for more than ten years. I teach seminars and workshops on project management and other topics for clients and through the Professional Development Center at Portland State University. My book, Applying Project Management in the Workplace, is available in the Thinking Tools Store.

 

Typical seminar topics include:

  • Defining a project before you ever start to plan it.
  • Working through the confusion of early-stage planning.
  • Utilizing Project KickStart™ as a planning tool.
  • Dealing with changes to your project.
  • Negotiating for the people you really need rather than the ones you were assigned.

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Jeff Crow is a Portland, Oregon consultant and trainer. He conducts seminars and workshops on project management and organizational development for corporations and through the Professional Development Center at Portland State University. He is author of the book,

Find out about Jeff's on-site workshops.

 

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