Getting more for less requires engagement to succeed.

By Alison Smith

In the current climate, many (if not all organisations) are being tasked to achieve more, for less. Fees can be measured in time as well as money. The same is true in projects, the drive is to deliver faster, cheaper, and better results – but how can you achieve your goals under these constraints?

One of the keys to this lies in engaging all members of the project process team; from the project sponsor, down to the project team members. A question to ponder is that of what if your Sponsor will simply not engage in the project. What can you do to overcome this?

In a Software Advice by Kyle Lagunas he points to research carried out by Towers Watson, which showed that with better engagement a better bottom line follows as well as successful project delivery

So just how do you get better engagement?

As said above the lead needs to come from the project sponsor . It is not enough for the sponsor to merely sign off the project business case and hope for the best. Your sponsor needs to be actively engaged in the progress of the project. But how?

There are a few simple ways that you can create an atmosphere of engagement:

  1. Praise in public, but correct in private – Everyone loves to be told that they are doing a good job as it engenders a sense of worth and appreciation of the work done. If possible try to include this in project team meetings as it shows that work being done is appreciated and recognised. No one wants to be taken to task in public, so if there is something that needs to be said it should be done in a one to one setting.
  2. Mistakes happen! We are all human and this is something we all forget, especially sponsors. The question is when mistakes happen should the sponsor take over? I would suggest that this is not the best way forward. How will your team develop maturity if they don’t identify and learn from their experiences? If they are continually bailed out they will be unlikely to gain the skill to learn lessons and overcome problems in future projects, as well as feeling that they are not trusted.
  3. Be honest. There is no point in stating facts that you can’t back up, or that are untrue, as this wastes time and money in chasing shadows. It is far better to be honest about what is known or unknown. This will provide the opportunity for you to tap into the vast team knowledge that in turn could provide a solution. Also don’t be tempted to guess or make up answers to save face, as it often has the reverse affect. Honesty is the best policy.
  4. Be clear about benefits the project is going to deliver. If you are unclear what benefits the project will bring, then you could easily fail to deliver anything of use. Be clear and direct also about who has responsibility for each aspect of the project process. Again if you are unclear who has control, you will soon run into problems where monitoring and control has not been carried out.

These are just 4 simple ideas that you can use to increase engagement to help deliver your projects successfully. What others can you think of? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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One Response to Getting more for less requires engagement to succeed.

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