Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Understanding the Perspective of Your Team

~ By Kenneth Darter

Three business people discussing business in the office

Everyone has a different perspective. Ask five different people what is going on in a project and you will get five different answers. The project manager should understand all the different perspectives on the team and be able to provide an objective perspective to manage the project and the people on the project. Understanding the different perspectives will help the project manager create a cohesive team. The first step is to know where people are coming from and how they see the project work. While people bring their own unique personality to the team, it can be helpful to understand the many roles that people have on a project team. Someone just may be seeing or thinking something that may surprise you.

The Stakeholder

The stakeholder's perspective is the result of the project. While the project manager and the project team are buried in the nitty-gritty details of the project, the stakeholder is concerned about things like when the system is going to be delivered and what benefit the new system will give to the corporation or the client that will be using it. Trying to explain lead time or requirements analysis to the stakeholder might just be a complete waste of time. When communicating with the stakeholders on the project, understanding their perspective is vital. They are usually not interested in the nuts and bolts of the project; they want to know the bottom line. Often their time is very busy, and they have more on their plate than just your project. Keep communications brief and to the point, and make sure you address the bottom line concerns that they have to meet their needs for your project.

The Delivery Lead

The delivery lead on a project is concerned about delivering the results. While the project manager and the project management office might spend their time dealing with processes and workflows, the delivery lead is worried about finishing the product or the software system, or whatever is being created by the project. The delivery lead's perspective is focused on the result. While the processes and procedures in place may actually be helping them get to the result, the delivery lead is not going to be very interested in them as it may just seem like a distraction from the work that is going on. To that end, the project manager should make sure he can explain how the project processes and procedures can help the delivery lead get to the end goal and show that they are not just 'busy' work or distractions.

The Matrix Resource

The matrix resource has a very different perspective on the project. In fact, the project is probably not the top priority in their view of the world. Their perspective is to get in and get their work done so they can get back to their 'real' job, whatever that might be. In dealing with matrix resources, the project manager should keep in mind that they do not consider the project in nearly the same light as resources who are dedicated full time to the project. Keep in mind that most matrix resources have multiple projects that they are working on, plus whatever regular work needs to be done. Treating matrix resources as if their only concern is your project and expecting them to churn out work the same way a dedicated resource does, will only lead other managers to stop volunteering their resources to your project.

Taking the time to understand where people are coming from and what perspective they have will lead the project manager to a deeper understanding of how the people on the project operate and work. This better understanding will help the project manager create a cohesive team. And hopefully, that will lead to the one thing everyone can agree upon - delivering a successful project, however that success is defined by the project team.


Be the first to comment on this article.

Add a comment

(never displayed)

Out of 56, 14 or 27, which is the smallest?
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

My Story: Working Smarter; Not Harder

Woman thinking with a light bulb drawn on a blackboard

When you realise that you have the power to change your beliefs and remove a limiting factor that has been constraining you, you have an AHA! moment.

Coming to Terms With the Finish Date

Colourful calendar pages

Every project has a finish date. This article looks at how the finish date for a project is derived and how a project team comes to terms with that date.

How to Become a Project Manager

Senior lecturer in front of his class

If you're new to project management don't be bamboozled by all the jargon. This article sets out the skills needed to become a competent project manager.

Effort Estimating: A Primer

Effort time money blue dice representing the ingredients for business

Good estimating is a skill like any other, it can be developed with practice to the point where it may seem like magic to the uninformed.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates on what's happening in the world of project management.

Latest Comments

Sylvester O commented on…
A Tale of Two Projects
- Tue 29 September 6:43am

Louanne Isaacson commented on…
A Brief History of Project Management | Project Smart
- Sun 27 September 7:26pm

Duncan Haughey commented on…
BOSCARD (Terms of Reference)
- Fri 25 September 6:51pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Help! In desperate need of a great PM tool #pm #projectsmart about 1 day ago

General Project Management • PRINCE2 Foundation Passed in 2008 #pm #projectsmart about 4 days ago

General Project Management • Sharepoint site #pm #projectsmart about 8 days ago