4.10 Working with Difficult People Part 2

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That says potential strategies, oh now how are we gonna gain support from these people and reduce obstacles that they may put up in front of us. We have a project charter, we have a scope statement, we have a work breakdown structure, we have a schedule, we have resource assignments along the way. Well we've laid the schedule out with our experts and we can show people, we have these tools to take care of some of these difficult issues that arise.

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Let’s say we have two friends. One of them is called DJ and DJ is a big guy. He’s a big kind of mountain man great big red hair, big red beard. He’s hiked all over the mountains, ridden his bicycle on all the mountain trails. He spends a lot of time in the mountains. He does have a job in the city eight to five. But every minute he can possibly get, he is off in the mountains. All of his vacations, his weekends, his evening, everything out in the mountains. Good strong big human. Very soft spoken, very nice, very kind, very gentle. He has another friend. His other friend Tom. Tom is a little more high-strung and Tom likes to move fast. DJ is kinda very thoughtful, quiet, soft spoken, speaks kind of slowly. Tom doesn’t speak slowly, speaks fast and he likes to get ideas out, thoughts out, words out and go on to the next thing. They’re very good friends, one day they’re sitting, talking and DJ is starting to talk and Tom just can’t stand it and does the thing that Tom does very often. Steps in, half way through what DJ has to say. And so DJ, you mean, this, this, this, this, this? Okay, great, now I need to say something, cuz Tom is always thinking about what he wants to say, rather than listening to what DJ has to say. He just gets bored, listening to DJ talk so slow. So DJ has finally had enough, this one day. And starts to stand up and lean over the table towards Tom, and Tom’s going, oh. I wonder what this is all about. This doesn’t look all that good. And so when DJ stands up, starts getting even bigger than he usually is and start to puff up kinda big, and he says. Tom, when you interrupt me and finish my sentences for me, that really hurts my feelings. Because I don’t think you care all about what I have to say. And all you can do is think about the next thing you have to say. What I would like for you to do, is to let me finish my thoughts, let me finish my sentences, get them out, then you certainly can talk because that’s going to allow us to remain friends and for you not to get hurt right now. What do you think about that? Tom said, that’s a great idea, and Tom never interrupted DJ again. Went right through this little model. You can also use this model for positive things. You have somebody on your project team that is really good at listening to what’s going on in the group. And sometimes they can summarize that for the whole group. And they can really clarify what’s going on. So you can say, Patty when you actually listen to the group, you do such a great job at that when you actually summarize things and clarify all of that for us. I feel really relieved because you have really helped our team come together and move forward. What I would like is for you to keep doing that, and I would like to actually make that kind of a formal role in the project for us. So there will be certain times when I’d like you to just speak up and I’ll actually even ask you, certain times. Now Patty, can you give us a little summary of our discussion that we’ve had going on and can you clarify what everyone said? Because that’s really going to allow our team to work well together and move forward. Will that be okay with you? Sure, I can help with that no problem at all. So you can use this for dealing with some very difficult people. You can also use the same model for people who are working pretty well. Lets take a look at our stakeholders. Stakeholders can cause us problems along the way as well. Remember stakeholder analysis that we looked at before, let’s take a look at some home owners around a stadium. We’re putting in a new stadium, campus, and a new sports stadium, sports facility here, playing field. And there home owners that live around here, we put them on our list. These two parts are going to be involved in task side of things you worked with and figuring out there power and interest that they have in this project. So that’s all part of what you do on the task side of things. There’s one other part out here at the end. That says potential strategies, oh now how are we gonna gain support from these people and reduce obstacles that they may put up in front of us. How do we actually start to avoid any difficult issues that come up from these people instead of waiting until they are difficult and then trying to work with it. Can we prevent any of this? So what can we do? We just have a list of things that people could do that will help us work together well with them. People around the stadium, one thing we might do, provide them a lot of information, let them know what’s going on. If there’s gonna be street closures because we’re putting in this new stadium, let them know that. Give them some alternative routes they can get in and out of their houses. During game days, there’s gonna be a lot of traffic and sometimes will be so blocked up they can’t get in and out of their house. They live near the stadium, well, they should have thought of that when they bought their house there but we wanna make sure now that we’ve got more people coming cuz we’re gonna fix up this stadium, put this new facility in. There’s gonna be a lot more traffic driven and foot traffic through the yards, right through their lawns that they never had before. So there’s some things that could cause problems. Some of these people, if we don’t work with them up front and prevent the difficulties. They can start to cause us difficulties because now, someone in this group or few people in this group decide their going to come together in the Home Owners Association or get together and form some kind of a home owners group. And then they’re go down, going to go to the chancellor of the university and start cause problems. They’re going to go to the city and say, okay, we want you to get involve because this new construction is causing us problems. So now we’ve got all kinds of troubles underway that we should have never had in the first place, if we would have worked well with people. One thing we can do for these people, we might say, to keep them from being difficult, maybe we just give every household around here two free tickets to every sporting event that happens. So now all of a sudden wow, we’ve got two free tickets to all these things, that doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe what we can do is allow them to park cars in their yard near this facility. This one very nice little old lady, Janie, and she parked cars in her yard. She’s very happy to have any kind of sporting event going on. She’d be happy if there was something going on every single weekend so if they expanded this facility to include all kinds of other events she’d be happy with that because in her yard she could park 100 cars. And she charges everyone 20 US dollars to park in that yard of hers, so she makes $2,000 every time there is a sporting event. So she is happy to have the stadium expanded and even more sporting events. So we can find ways to work well with people up front and we do not have to then try and figure out okay, now we’ve got a problem with this person, how do we deal with it? Let’s just alleviate the problem, not even have them there to be begin with. So one of the things we can do with our stakeholder analysis, let’s try and prevent problems along the way. Another thing we can do with our stakeholders, use the tools. We have a project charter, we have a scope statement, we have a work breakdown structure, we have a schedule, we have resource assignments along the way. The project charter, what does that tell us? That tells us what done looks like. The scope, what does that tell us? It tells us what done looks like. Those two things together are going to give us a lot of information on the end result of the project. One of the key issues that causes some kind of problems in the project and causes people to be very difficult is because no one is clear about Dunn looks like this, or at least this person’s not clear about that and they may not agree with this. First we have to hear each other, understand each other, and for a project we have to come to some kind of agreement. We all need to be working toward the same goal. So a lot of the things that people do that are difficult are based on, we haven’t made sure that everyone agrees on things. Let’s do that upfront. So if we use our tools properly in the project, again, we can take care of some of the problems. Now, if we run into problems along the way and people say give us some trouble about the scope of the project, say, we need to add more into the scope of the project. We can say, well, that’s not what we agreed to. Here’s what we agreed to, and all we do is pull out the chart or the scope statement and say, when you were in this meeting, we had this discussion, we all agreed to this. So what we have to do is remind people of the discussion that we had before. They’re trying to be difficult now. We can say we did this before, agreed to this, we should be able to move forward. What we’re looking at is the scope of the project. That’s one area that could cause a lot of problems so people can be very difficult about the scope of the project especially as the project starts to move forward. A lot of times we have a discussion about the project up front and as we move forward people can actually see the project come together. And now they start to cause some difficulties because now they can actually see it. Up front originally, the project manager could envision this whole completed project in their head. That’s one of the skills that you develop as a project manager. You get better at that the more projects you do. You’re looking out ahead to say, okay, done looks like this. And I’m moving toward that. And the way I’m going to do that is put a project plan together. These steps, this WBS, this schedule, these people we’re gonna put all that together to make that happen. One area of problem area where people can be very difficult was that scope. As we start doing the project people see things happen and that’s when they can pause and wait a minute I didn’t want it to look like that. When I said those words I thought it was gonna look like this. I thought it was gonna be a big, square, yellow one. I didn’t know it was gonna be a great big, round, blue one. I didn’t mean that at all. So now we’re going, oh no, we have to go back and clarify what we agreed on originally. Sometimes we do have to go back and re-clarify things. Sometimes all we have to do is say, wait, we had this discussion already and we agreed on the round, blue one. We did not agree on the square, yellow one even though we talked about that. So if you recall, we had that discussion and decide that was not the direction we we’re going to go. Then people said, oh, I do remember that, and they can stop being difficult. Sometimes we actually need to change the scope of the project. If we change the scope of the project, then people might be difficult again because they say, well, but I don’t want it to cost anymore money or take anymore time. Well, it may have to do one of those things. The work breakdown structure is a tool we can use to focus people on how we’re going to do things. We look at the scope of the project, the cost, the quality of the project. We can lay out when we lay out the scope, we can put a quality requirement on every single task. So here’s the scope of the project, total scope of the project. All of the deliverables, everything that will be created and supplied by this project, and all the work we have to do to make that happen. People can be difficult around a couple of these things. They can be difficult about the deliverables. Wait a minute. I didn’t agree to that one, and I want three different ones instead. They wanna change the scope of the project for what we’re actually going to supply at the end, the product scope of the project. Then they can also say, well, I don’t think it should take that long and cost that much money. And I say, well, it has to take that long and cost that much money. When we put it together, the experts say we have to do these tasks. Every time we have to do a task, we have to pay somebody to do that and supply them with some materials quite often, to add that cost into that task as well. And it takes some time to do each one of these tasks. So we have to put the time and the dollars into the project to make it successful. We put our schedule together. This is another area that can cause problems, so now people get difficult about the schedule. Okay, it’s just taking too long, don’t wanna take that long? Want it to go shorter? Well we’ve laid the schedule out with our experts and we can show people, we have these tools to take care of some of these difficult issues that arise. Just go back to the tools that you have, and say, okay, this is what we decided for scope of the project, this is what we decided on the schedule for the project, and this is based on the best experts that we can put together to say it’s going to take this long. If people want it to be done shorter, we’re gonna have to figure out a way to do that, which might mean it would take things out of the scope of the project, reduce the quality of the project. We might have to add more people to the projects so that we can get each task done faster, and that may increase the cost of the project. Sometimes we can use any of these tools, sometimes a better tool to show people what’s going on with the project schedule might be our Gantt chart. So we have all these tools already that we’ve put together, this tool, when we look at network diagram, says here’s what the project schedule looks like. When people say I want to add in extra elements into the scope of the project, what are they asking you to do? They’re asking you to put additional work into the project .so what can you do now, is say I can do that, that’s not a problem if we agree to that. And all of the key stakeholders say, yes. We do need to add that element into the project. Okay, we’ve gotten rid of that difficulty. Now it causes more difficulties cuz now people say, wonderful, I’m glad that’s in the scope of the project and we’re also going to do that. However, I don’t want it to take anymore time or cost anymore money. You can look at this diagram right here and see you just added something into the scope of the project. That means it has to cost more money. We have to pay somebody to do that task and they have to take the time to do that task and we have to supply them the materials they need to complete that task. So it’s certainly going to cost more money and if that task is in the critical path, it will take longer to get the project done. If we have some float time and this new task is not going to use up all of that float time that we’ve talked about before in scheduling. Then, it doesn’t necessarily have to take any longer. But certainly, it’s going to cost more money. So now we have some tools to show people at. It’s not just, why you want more things in the scope. Well, it’s gonna have, it’s gonna cost you more money. What are you gonna show them? Don’t just say it’s gonna cost you more money, you have to pay more. That’s going to make people angry, a lot of the time. I don’t think you have to pay more. I’m just gonna put this thing in, it’s one little thing, I don’t know what the big deal is. Let me show you what that means. This is what it means to the project. It has to go in here and somehow have to pay somebody to do this. It’s going to cost some money. And it’s going to take some time.

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