Thursday, November 30, 2006

November 30, 2006 - But that isn't my project

I was mentoring a project manager at one of my clients. As we talked, she began telling me about the additional tasks she was being assigned that were keeping her from effectively manager her project. One item was creating status reports for projects that she was not managing. These projects weren’t even remotely related to hers, yet she was charging time against her project for researching and presenting the status.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, first determine the additional effort that is being expected and the impact it is having on your other responsibilities. Schedule a meeting and discuss the situation with the individual. Tell her you are willing to perform the tasks if necessary but that you would like to explain the impact to your current assignments and workload. Use your project scheduled or other evidence to outline the slippage it is causing.

Sometimes that is enough for her to realize the responsibility isn’t yours. If you still end up with the chore, request additional charge numbers to bill the time against for the reporting. If it is still pushed to your budget, consider issuing a Change Request to the sponsor for the number of hours and change in schedule to perform the tasks. In a less formal setting, an email recapping the conversation and decision may be more appropriate.

The bottom line is that you have committed to your project and budget and the additional tasks are eating away at those. There needs to be a clear understanding of the problem and an agreed upon solution that keeps both you and your project sane.

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