The value of impromptu chats with your Project Board members

There is real value in having impromptu chats with your Project Board members and this post explores why. Consider your Project Control Board (PCB) members as valuable to your project success.  If you do that and engage with them in the best way you will gain strong support and be more likely to success with your delivery.

In today’s work space it seems that everyone is busy.  There always seems to be more to do and not enough time to do it in.  People will book meetings, usually for the standard hour, even though at times a much more productive meeting could be held in 15 minutes. This means that you can sometimes not be able to catch up with the key decision makers on your project when you need to.

As a Project Manager (PM) it is very important that you keep your key sponsor and even your Steering Committee/Project Board Members, as up to date as possible with what is happening on the project.  I have found this especially the case where you have influential people on your Steering Committee or Project Board.

Whilst sending them short update emails works, the one thing that I have found that works even better is the early morning impromptu chat.

I have always been a person who arrives early to work in the morning, and it is amazing how many of the Senior Managers do the same thing.  Quite often they will come into work early to set up their day, look through emails, do extra reading etc., in preparation for their day.  This makes it the perfect time for you as a PM to have a five minute catch up with them.

Meeting them in the kitchen,  dropping by their office or the coffee machine and giving them an update of the day in the life of their project, has helped me to gain substantial buy-in and additional support when I needed it.  This has been especially true when something looked like it might be going off the rails and I need some urgent support or a decision to be made quickly.

Because this senior person, with decision making power, had up to date knowledge of what was currently happening on the project because of these regular impromptu chats:

  • I didn’t need to spend a lot of time filling them in on where things were at, before asking for what I needed,
  • they were more inclined to know that when I asked for their support I was asking for a good reason, and
  • they quickly became my advocate and provided support when I needed it because they felt that they were kept in the loop about the project status.

So, my message to you is, don’t always be hung up on having formal meetings.  See the value in the ‘networking’ type opportunities that you can have with Project Board members.  Involve them as much as possible by providing them with impromptu updates.  You will be surprised as to how much stronger their support is for delivery of your project.

Karen

Written by Karen Munro