Article provided by guest blogger, Brad Egeland.
You may think this is a crazy idea. Why would anyone want to make their project more visible? Knowing that the failure rate on projects is over 50%, why would any project manager want to get his project more noticed? Couldn’t that end up being a career-killer? Well, yes. But let’s think more positively, shall we? Let’s go into each engagement knowing our project will be a success. Using that frame of mind, now consider why we might want to make our project more visible. Does anything come to mind? Still no?
Let me help you. You’re a project manager – you don’t tend to duck from leadership opportunities…it’s not in your nature. You are the leader, everyone is looking to you for direction. Your customer is looking to you for answers. Likely, your executive management is as well. Now why would you want your project to be more visible?
Here’s why…the more visible the project, the more aware people are of it, the more important people (and people in high places as well) consider it to be, and the more likely it will ‘win’ in resource struggles, funding struggles, major decisions, bumps in the road, and any roadblocks that may tend to slow or halt it’s progress toward a successful conclusion. Yes, visibility can come with a price…but it can also have its perks, too.
So, we’ve established that not blending into the woodwork might be a good thing. But how do we do that? How do we make sure that our project gets noticed? If our project isn’t already the most important project in the company or the highest dollar project that the organization has going, then what can we do to make our executive management ‘notice’ our project at or above the level of the most important engagements going on right now?
To get your project noticed, if you see it as a benefit to go that route, I suggest the following actions…
Invite Senior Management to the Kickoff Meeting
If your project is already visible enough or of enough strategic importance, your senior management will already be planning to attend. But if not, you can certainly invite them. And by all means, send them all of your project kickoff session materials including the PowerPoint presentation slides and meeting agenda. Act like you expect them to be represented in some way at the kickoff meeting. You might even imply that it is important to the customer that they attend and that key information that may be of interest to them will be discussed.
Send Weekly Project Information to the Executive Management Team
Get in the habit of including your senior management team in the weekly distribution of your project materials: revised project status report, revised project schedule, and revised budget status/forecast at a minimum. This will keep them informed of your project (someone will read it) and you’ll hopefully have some sort of ally in case you need help down the road getting a resource or getting through a major project roadblock.
Periodically Invite Senior Management to Customer Meetings
Finally, periodically invite someone from the executive team to a weekly project customer status call or possibly a project phase kickoff meeting. It will keep them informed of your project’s status and progress and it will also send a nice message to the project customer that your project – their project – is considered important in your organization. That’s always a nice customer satisfaction boost.
Maybe you’re not looking for more notoriety for your project and that’s ok. But if you are – if you want your project to be more visible so that your customer gets more attention, your project gets more attention and you might find it easier to get resources and funding - then following these three practices will likely help you get there.