Do you, as a Project Manager (PM), assess your decision making risks?
Do you own the risk associated with the decisions that you make on a day to day basis especially in
regards to how they will impact your project delivery?
I often see PM’s who don’t. This looks like someone who blames others when there are issues;
someone who won’t make a decision, who puts the decision making onto others so that they can’t
be held accountable or responsible for it.
What problem does this lead to on a project?
Firstly this leads to a lack of trust between the PM and the other project team members. Team
members don’t feel that they are being supported and they certainly won’t feel respected for their
role in project delivery.
Secondly it is likely to create additional stress and tension between members of the project team,
and the project team and PM. Why? Because there is no certainty and clarity of role definition and
certainly there would be a perceived lack of leadership and management in this behaviour.
Thirdly you are not doing yourself a favour in regards to your own reputation if you act this way. If
you take ownership and responsibility and make decisions accepting and owning the risk of them
then you will be seen as being strong and providing leadership to the team. There is nothing wrong
with discussing with the team their ideas and considerations in regards to decision making. Team
members can help highlight risks with decision options in order for you to weigh up and gain
consensus around the decision. Ultimately though, you as the PM need to make the decision and
accept the associated risks that go along with that.
And lastly you will find that your business owner and PCB members will have less faith in your ability
to be open and honest with them. They will hear from your project team that there is a lack of trust
and respect for you and your decision making and this will flow through.
So, consider how you own the risk of your decision making. Is there a way to improve on it moving
There is some useful information in this lesson.
The key thing is to have confidence that when you make the decision, sometimes you are going to make mistakes. The more decisions you make, the more decisions you will make. Be brave and take on the risk and the responsibility. There are benefits for you if you do. Work through why you are making the decision. Weigh up the risks and make an informed decision, the best one that you can make at that time. If you do this and can explain why you made the decision, you will gain the respect that you want from all of your project team.
Written by Karen Munro
*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net