I am rarely stuck for words but….I was! I was running a 2 day project management training course and we were discussing risk management as a key area for project managers. It was during this session that someone uttered the following words:
“My manager told me on presenting a risk log that there are no risks in this project. Risks are seen as being negative and we do not have any negatives here.”
There was genuinely a stunned silence – even from me which is a very unusual occasion. The silence was interrupted by a comment from a project management course delegate:
“There is no excuse for stupidity”
I did ask the person who raised the issue what she said to the project sponsor. She replied that she did not feel confident to tackle the project sponsor.
Project Agency Consultant has same experience!
Switch to a conversation with Sam. She is one of Project Agency’s Consultants . We were talking about a range of issues and including risk management. I mentioned the comment from the course. She told me that she had experienced the same issue. She was told by (again) the project sponsor, there are no risks in our projects….. Her response was to influence the manager by saying:
“Identifying risks is a positive process. It shows we have identified project risks and have a plan to manage them on an on going basis.”
This was a great response and resulted in the risk log becoming a key document in delivery of the project.
We need to be able to influence
I wrote a post called “Project Managers, You Have a Lot of Responsibility” and you do. One of those areas is to influence people including the project sponsor. I will be writing a review of a book on influencing skills very soon; a key skill for project managers!
Sam’s comments really turned the direction of the project. She was able to influence the project sponsor. We all need to be able to influence effectively.
Yes, there is no excuse for stupidity but we have to deal with it!