How to make good project decisions that make sense


Brad Egeland

April 27, 2016

I’m tired of people making decisions that don’t make sense. Or people making subjective decisions based on a poor understanding of the situation. Or a less than thoughtful interpretation of the situation. Or even worse, their own “reality” or assumption of “what happens next” interpretation of the situation.

I had that a few months with an organization that recognized that I was a successful consultant. They wanted to hire me as a remote project manager but were afraid that I’d leave for another position. I wasn’t even looking at the time – but saw their opportunity as a good fit with my consulting, writing and marketing and they were fine with that continuing. They thought I’d leave for another W2…which could not have been farther from the truth.

Another concern – when senior managers making wrong decisions for clients that I have a close relationship with and extreme knowledge of the project. I let that happen and the company lost two very valuable projects in the process. Sure, I can blame it on others’ decisions, but that’s doesn’t change what happened or get the projects back.

All this holds true on our projects as well. Too many times we find on our projects individuals making subjective decisions with less than the right information or with blinders on…trying too hard to “interpret” the situation instead of looking at it in the best interest of the project and making the best decisions possible. That is what we need to be striving for every day on our projects.

I realize it’s nearly impossible, but how do we get past some of those preconceived notions, biases and odd interpretations of a given situation in order to make the best decisions possible? Usually it’s all about communication and information. And more communication and information. And did I say communication and information? Let’s consider a few options…that will likely be based….for the most part….on communication and information…

For me, it usually works to focus on these three concepts.

Communicate well and often. Communication is Job One for the project manager. The project manager who has mastered the art of communication – with team members, senior management, stakeholders, vendors, the project sponsor, customer end users, etc. – will more often than not come out ahead. And that also means they will likely have as much good information as they can possibly have when making project decisions. They will

Use meetings wisely. Meetings are for communication, the sharing of information, brainstorming, decision making, etc. Use meetings wisely and efficiently to get things done on the project. There good meeting managers out there but for ever project manager who is a good meeting manager, there are probably five others who do not use meetings wisely or allow them to get out of control or roll along inefficiently by inviting non-relevant discussions, latecomers and poor participants. We need to raise the bar in our meetings. Start and end on time. Always keep discussions on topic. Don’t stray from the agenda. Follow up after meetings with notes and ask for all participants to send you any updates they think you missed. Keep everyone on the same page and you’ll be successful more often than note.

Don’t shut out senior management. You may like to run under the radar with your project and senior management intervention may seem like just an intrusion. However, I have had some of my best project outcomes after getting senior management up to speed on my projects. Need a new resource on the project? If those who can make things happen know a lot about your project then when you need things, you’re likely to get the attention you want….in a good way. It’s helped me get good resources quickly and get information fast to make decisions that needed to be made right away.

Summary / call for input

The bottom line is this…we need to be making better decisions that make sense for the project. Sometimes be subjective, sometimes only objective, and sometimes it may mean making no decision at that moment and frustrating people. But it should always mean making the best choice for the project and project client at that moment, no matter what.

This article was written by Brad Egeland from CIO and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Great ! Thanks for your subscription !

You will soon receive the first Content Loop Newsletter