How to Gain Commitment on Your Project
By Richard Morreale
I think most of us know that for a project to be successful the stakeholders must be committed. This includes the Project Team, the Project Manager, the Clients, Senior Management and any one else that could contribute to the success of the project. I believe it is part of the Project Managers responsibility to get that commitment from the stakeholders. The first thing to know, however, is which of the stakeholders are committed and which of the stakeholders are not. I do this by creating a multi-columned Committed/Not committed Table. The first column of the table include a list of the stakeholders while it is noted in the second column whether the stakeholder is committed (C) or not committed (NC). The third column should include the action to be taken, for that specific stakeholder, to either maintain and build on the commitment or to gain it. The fourth column should include who is responsible for the action. This table should be kept for the Project Managers eyes-only.
Once we know which stakeholders are not committed, we need to start working on gaining that commitment. There are a number of ways to gain the stakeholders commitment and I’m just going to cover a few that I’ve used in the past.
We as Project Managers need to ensure that the stakeholders know the project’s outcome and, if they are directly responsible for delivery, they need to own it. We need to promote a teamwork culture on the project and we need to ensure that the stakeholders feel that they are an important part of that team. We need to get the stakeholders involved in the project by making sure that they know what is happening on the project.
We need to communicate, communicate, communicate on the project. We could publish a project newsletter, hold briefing sessions and make presentations. We could also set up a Project Visibility Wall or Project Visibility Room.
A Visibility Room/Wall makes use of the walls in, say, a meeting room. The meeting room can continue to be a meeting room, however, as the project only needs the walls. If a room is not available, then a wall in the hallway where people can see it will work just as well. The latest information about the project should be displayed on the walls. Things like, the name and a description of the project, the name of the project manager, the names of the team members, the deliverable to be created and delivered, the project schedule, project achievement, so far, and whether or not the project is on schedule.
Getting people to sign is a good way to get commitment. I ask various stakeholders to sign various documents. For instance, getting the client to sign the requirements shows that he agrees with what is in the document in terms of what needs to be delivered. Getting the team to sign the requirements means that each member of the team is committed to delivering what the client said he wanted. I like the plans to be signed by members of the team and, in some cases, even the client. In signing the plans, I want to make sure that those that sign understand and are committed to their activities and the schedule for completion of each of those activities. I’ve even thought, although I’ve never done it, about getting a team member to sign his or her work with the statement that ‘this is the best I can do’. I might do it yet and see what happens.
I like to make sure that people are enjoying themselves. I don’t mean that you should treat work like it was an amusement park. I mean it is absolutely serious what you are delivering to the client but you don’t have to take yourself so seriously. Lighten up. Smile. As the song goes, Don’t worry, be happy. Sponsor socials. Work hard and play hard. Enjoy yourself and make it enjoyable for the team.
Why not try some of these things to gain commitment and let me know what happened.
Richard Morreale is a project manager, professional speaker, author and consultant specializing in Project Management, Leadership, Achievement and Customer Service.
You can book Richard for your next meeting or conference at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336 499 6677.