It’s August and when September comes around and vacations are a distant memory project work for meeting year-end objectives will once again be top of mind. But getting projects done that fit the organization’s vision and mission while easy to promise is a bit more difficult to achieve. How do we know? We’ve coached people with these very needs and learned a whole bunch in the process.
If you want to learn what we’ve helped others discover about project integration for example and put these insights into practice here are 2 options. And remember, the larger the project, the greater the impact on the overall organization, the more the need for effective integration.
Option 1 – Search the Internet
- Search: How to be great at Project Management –1,840,000,000 results.
- Search: Integration in Project Management — 1,050,000,000 results
A definite rabbit hole and by the time you figure out what’s in the first 10 to 20 results you’re likely exhausted and done — or you take a deep breath and continue your search.
Option 2 – Leverage Targeted On-demand Content
There’s lots of great advice out there and we’ve looked at a lot of it. But finding just the right stuff can be difficult especially if you want advice tailored to meet your workplace performance development and improvement needs. To find what counts you have to find materials written by coaches that will help you overcome workplace obstacles and achieve new levels of performance success.
Want to experience the benefits of having easy access to Option 2 (on-demand coaching content)?
Here’s a sample — 5 important lessons we’ve helped others discover that helped them achieve the critically important job of integrating projects into the fabric of their organization.
Any one suggestion can make a difference. Use all 5 and you’ll likely hit a “home run!”
1. Assess both the project vision and its goals.
Early on, and as often as possible in the start-up phase, assess whether the stated project goals and strategy are congruent with the organization’s CURRENT goals and the way the organization CURRENTLY operates. Consider if recent changes may have shifted the organization’s goals making it less (or hopefully more) likely your project goals and strategy are on target. Tweak your approach, if necessary, to make it consistent with the organization’s most recent goals and improved ways of operating.
2. Involve stakeholders.
As noted, sponsors are key to success when it comes to ensuring integration. They have the insights needed to make certain that the integration of your project with the organization at large makes sense and is covering all the possible issues. Ask yourself if your project team has all the right players to make certain that integration works throughout the project. Close any gaps by creating appropriate linkages to all who should be involved. Proactively reaching out to everyone who will be affected by what you are doing will create a web of support and a group to rely on to help you stay in touch and in line with changing culture and values.
3. Develop and Maintain genuine support.
Remember that formal approval doesn’t necessarily mean support. To obtain and maintain genuine support, you must make an ongoing effort to communicate with and involve everyone who has a stake in the project. To do this, schedule regular reminders and use them to check on levels of support. These “checks” should be done in coordination with regular status updates – and performed as frequently as possible (which is likely much more frequently than even a few years ago). Maybe an individual or group that has always been strongly behind your project has changed and now is much less supportive. When this occurs, attempt to strengthen your communication and figure out next steps to strengthen support.
4. Thoroughly consider the implications of the decisions you make.
Make it a habit to consider the impact of every major project decision on every stakeholder — including the peripheral ones — and on the organization as a whole. If there is concern about a decision’s potential negative impact on one of the stakeholders, plan to meet or connect with them to share and explain why the decision was made and make certain they can work with you going forward. You may need to “return the favor” if they agree to go along but are doing it because they value you and your relationship. Strive to keep “give and take” in balance to maintain healthy business relationships. Please trust us with this advice and be reasonable with your requests for assistance.
5. Understand the politics of projects.
Politics is part of every organization. Senior or influential people in organizations often have agendas — goals or desires — that are important to them and often seek to win acceptance or press for projects that support their goals and/or their viewpoint. Make sure you consider if and how any “politics” is influencing your new project. While we all hope things are done for “objective” logical reasons, we also know the real world doesn’t always work that way. Consider how you can and will adjust for political situations that directly impact your project. Consider discussing your perceptions with others to make certain your perceptions are accurate.
- The current rate of rapid change makes integration of projects within organizations more difficult than ever.
- Project management and organization have changed more in the last year than the previous 3 or 5 making the need for integration even more important and challenging.
- Be open and aware of shifting culture and values and handle integration accordingly. If your current project appears to be getting push back as you work to implement it, take a pause. Something of significance may have changed and integration may need to be reconsidered before moving forward.
Here are a few “coaching questions” we’d like you to consider as you think about what you can do to improve project integration in your organization.
Think about and conduct an analysis of the current values and culture of your organization.
- Have they evolved or shifted over the past year?
- How have they changed?
- Do any changes affect the way projects are conducted?
- Do any changes affect the way projects should be conducted?
- How have any of these changes affected the way you handled projects in your organization?
Are the projects you’re currently working in-synch and consistent with the current goals of your organization and with its values and culture?
- How do you know?
- How does the level of integration with goals, values, and culture – high or low — affect the way you conduct projects?
- Are there any changes you need to make?
- What are they and when will you make them?
- How will you know your changes are making things better or not?
Do you routinely reach out to and involve all relevant stakeholders to ensure adequate support and engagement?
- How often do you do this?
- How do you do this?
- Do you receive helpful input and insights?
- When you do, how do you use these insights to improve project execution and completion?
And remember . . .
Whether you have a live coach to help, a manager to listen, or colleagues to consult with — a relatively short and targeted set of coaching content can be the perfect add-on to jump-start the answers to typical but tough workplace question you’re facing. Great coaching content — lessons learned, key insights, and probing questions — provides a smart starting place with lots of advice on where to go next.