The atmosphere in the room was tense so I decided to intervene and summarised as follows:
- this group is a mix of project managers and project sponsors
- this sponsor workshop is focusing on clarifying roles – role of the project manager and role of the project sponsor alongside steering groups (project boards)
- it seems that roles are not at all clear – there is too much confusion as to who should be doing what and when. I received confirmation by the nodding of heads in the room and confirmed this by asking people to raise their hands if they agreed – all 10 hands went into the air
I then suggested a way to ensure that the questions posed in the title are answered and suggested that the answer(s) would need to be discussed with the relevant parties before finalising.
I drew the following on a flip chart (reproduced as the original was very poor!)
I suggested that project sponsor and the project manager should look at this as an opportunity to collaborate, to decide on who literally does what.
I also suggested that they use the role descriptions I gave them during the workshop, adding that these were guidance for the discussions.
There is no doubt that people were not very comfortable contemplating a meeting with their project manager or project sponsor to sort out the issues raised. I then acted as a devil’s advocate suggested that they forget all about this and simply get on with their projects!
They understood! For many of the people around the table they had problems over roles in projects and ones which needed to be resolved. This was the solution which needed actioining!