Lean Project Management

Managing Human Dynamics

A project plan has tasks and assignments. Managing a project is all about managing “human dynamics” to ensure the project plan is executed. Failure to manage human dynamics means the project will probably fail. Since most project managers do not understand human dynamics, most projects fail or are severly challenged (Standish Chaos report).

Key areas that must be managed:

(1) General requirements evolve into detailed requirements because that is how people think.  Stakeholders and project staff are evolving their understanding of the project and benefits which results in changes or delayed decisions that must be managed.  PMI refers to this as “Progressive Elaboration”.  Understanding and managing this evolution is essential.

(2) Technical staff (intelligent people with strong opinions) will clash with each other … especially across technology boundaries. analysis of a website Frequently the result of “technical bigotry” … the obsession to use their favorite technology for all solutions.  These clashes can be beneficial and lead to a better solution but they must be managed to avoid disrupting the project.

(3) Business people use business terminology and IT staff use technical terminology.  Both groups want the other group to make the extra effort to facilitate communications.  Business and technical Terminology must be clearly documented or avoided.

(4) If you give staff to much time to complete an activity, they will wait till the last minute and still not have enough time to do it right.  This is human nature.

I could go on but you get the point. Successful project managers understand people and human dynamics and their project plans and management style are designed to anticipate and mitigate the negative impacts.

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