Archives for the month of: July, 2007

Click on the title above for an article called “Talk Talk” originally published on in July, 2002. I was skimming through links on gantthead and came upon it. The premise is “To have effective communication, the project leader–and the whole team–must recognize the communication needs of the customer and the various stakeholders involved to make the project a success.”

The author presents a matrix illustrating how the level and scope of communication needs to be adjusted based on the complexity of the project and the needs of the customer and stakeholders.

I have fallen into more of a boilerplate communication plan habit of including the same-old, same-old for each project. Reading the article provided me insight into the fact that there are different communication needs on a per project and per customer basis. Also adding to the “bulb lighting up” is a recent experience with a project sponsor.

I was managing a project that appeared to be going smoothly. We were having regular project meetings, we had a well defined scope and project objectives, and we were delivering. Unexpectedly, I receive an email from the sponsor indicating that he does not know what the status of the project is and that overall project communication has been poor. Apparently, the sponsor did not feel that enough communication was being “pushed” to him and that put him out of the loop. After a brief discussion with him, we were able to agree on a communication method that was better suited to his information needs on this particular project. Had I had this discussion up front, this communication gap (and subsequent email) would have been avoided.


Well, I’ve made it through my first month at my new job. Impressions? At first, I was concerned. I had very little to do and it didn’t appear that the work was on the horizon. Coming from a consulting firm and having responsibility for pre-sales, management and delivery, I had a full plate – you know, drinking from a fire hose, at times. I knew that moving into the corporate world would mean a different pace, but I didn’t know how I would react. For me, it was frustrating. The feeling of “what did I get myself into?” I was having trouble making stuff up to do.

Luckily, things did change and now I have a healthy work load. With that work load come some challenges with respect to my corporate life.

First, working in a matrix organization is challenging. I read many books and articles that talk about it, but it’s not like experiencing it first hand. Essentially, I was given 30% of each resource’s time – across all projects. That means I get 12 hours work effort each week to work from, and have to share that between my 6 projects and any other projects going on. Now mgmt has been flexible, but things don’t move fast around here.

Second, I’m adjusting to the political environment. That was one of my big hesitations moving into the corporate world. As a consultant, I was always on the periphery of the political arena at a customer and never got a full taste of it. Well, welcome to the real world. The division I work in is not large, but there is definitely sensitivities and political wrangling. My goal is not to get sucked into it. Many people try to tell you “their stories.” Trying to gain sympathy for their political “party” in the corporate race. It’s like seeing a whirlpool spinning in the water and watching things get sucked into it. To me, it’s a matter of not getting close enough to the vortex to get caught in it.

Third, it’s a new culture. Everyone has pet peeves. At work, mine are many 🙂 First, I want everyone to come to meetings on time. This seems like such a basic tenet of a healthy culture. When it doesn’t happen, it means to me that it is a culture that doesn’t respect one another. No-one, except the PMO, comes to meetings on time here. 5, 10 , 15 minutes late. That matters when the meeting is scheduled for a half hour! Second, people do not stand by their commitments consistently. As a PM, this is even more important. We are professionals. If you are committing to provide something by a certain date I am going to treat you like an adult and expect you to deliver what you promise without badgering you. Take a note, add that note to a to do list and place a date on that to do item and get it done by that date. If something comes up, let me know. Don’t wait for the date to come and then tell me you don’t have it only when I ask for it.

Don’t take the above as a sign of my unhappiness. The blog post it about the challenges. I’m actually doing really well here. The work is challenging, I have a great commute, I rarely take any work home, I get to work out during my lunch 3x a week and overall the people are pleasant.

That’s my rambling for this sunny Friday morning. I won’t get used to any of the annoyances above (that would have me in the vortex.) My goal is to continue to work to my standards and values. Being true to myself is more important than trying to change others (and easier!)