Organizational Savvy –
How to get things done.
How many of your project managers (PMs) are so skillful at getting things done that they seem to glide effortlessly through the duration of their projects? They hit their milestones, deliver the intended results on budget, and execute with high performance and low drama. How do they do it?
One of the core skills that allows PMs to deliver, is the ability to get things done through formal and informal channels. Savvy PMs build networks and use their power and influence with the proper balance of finesse and assertiveness.
They know why the organization has its practices, policies and procedures and can explain the reasoning behind them. They are able to figure out how the organization works and how it supports (or doesn’t support) its projects.
PMs who get things done, know three things well:
Savvy PMs will spend time getting to know what each function in the organization does. They will study what value that function brings to the project. For example, they know what finance, procurement, marketing, and others, contribute to the project. They need to know the organization has these functions and they are good at engaging them. Give your PMs access to organizational information, and encourage them to be curious.
Skilled PMs build relationships with people in the functions. They use many of their stakeholder management techniques to form bonds. They seek opportunities to communicate about the project; they tend to include functional experts in meeting and decisions. They may even engage in reciprocity with those outside the project who can help them get things done. Host events or forums that connect your PMs to the functions, and if necessary, teach networking skills.
Competent PMs know the processes the functions use. They learn the process inputs and outputs and how the process contributes to the project. They proactively anticipate the capabilities of the function and realize what steps the function must go through to support the project. Unskilled PMs may be tempted to try to skip steps or expedite around the standard process which could lead to errors and delays. Communicate and teach the functional processes and coach PMs in the art of leveraging them.
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