How to confuse people in the business

If you are doing all of the things that point to project chaos then you are likely to have a clear understanding of how to confuse people in the business.

In my recent post titled ‘No collaboration = Project chaos‘ I spoke about the sorts of things that I see that cause chaos in a project.  What I didn’t discuss in that post was the impact on the business stakeholders when this is occurring.

Confusion for the business looks something like this:

  • The business owner has no idea who they should be talking to, as there are people communicating different messages to them from different directions;
  • The sponsor doesn’t really understand who is ‘managing’ their project because they are not getting any clear direction or understanding from one person – the project manager;
  • The business stakeholders start to tell you what they think you want to hear, in order to make you (the PM or team members go away);
  • Business stakeholders resist more than they normally would, because they are confused about what they are and aren’t being asked to do;
  • There is more of a sense of ‘Us’ vs ‘Them’ with Us being the business and Them being the project team;
  • The business starts to see that delivery at all costs is more important than getting the outcome for them and so wants the project over and done with, and so participates any way they have to;
  • Clear and open governance does not exist so the business has no real visibility of what is and isn’t happening;
  • There are not clearly defined deliverables;
  • The delivery of mixed messages and more mixed messages and more mixed messages.

All in all this is not a very good situation for the business stakeholders to be in at all.  In fact, I would consider it is the worst situation for them to be in.

Avoid this type of behaviour at all costs.  You are doing yourself and your project a lot of harm by acting this way.

Stop and think about what the business really needs from you in order to work with them to deliver your project.



Written by Karen Munro

*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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