Here me roar.
Sweet (but self-righteous) project managers occupy more and more seats at conference room tables around the Beltway. We come in peace, sit in judgment, and stay to eventually say “I told them so.”
Armed with inputs, outputs, tools and techniques, projects still fail despite our best processes. The sad part is that most of us anticipate ultimate project failure during the kick-off! Once underway, we openly lament the lack of attention to the project management plan but privately regret the real reason the effort was doomed from the start— lack of appeal to the very people who are supposed to benefit from the project.
Stakeholder groups are sometimes written off as uninformed. But while stakeholders can’t always put their finger on the problem, end users should be a good barometer of worthwhile-ness. “Because I said so” from an executive sponsor might be enough to launch but it’s not enough to successfully land.
What sustains important projects is buy-in--not just from senior leadership—but from the technical experts, budget folks, liaisons, working group members, and others. Buy-in is first inspired then grows organically within good projects with clearly articulated and believable benefits.
As project managers, we’re in a unique position to evaluate whether or not the project push-back is resulting from spotty project management or is just a downright crappy solution.