Project practitioners typically field feedback from a
variety of sources—managers, mentors, teammates
and clients—each of whom has a different perspective. Keep that vantage point in mind while weighing how to respond.
“Especially if the organization has an
immature project management environment, a negative comment may actually
stem from a person’s lack of understanding of the project requirements or actual
project process,” says Laurianne van Zyl,
PMP, project manager, Vast Networks,
Cape Town, South Africa.
For instance, when one department
manager wanted to place a large order
for equipment that would be used across
a portfolio of projects, she made the offhand comment that Ms. van Zyl needed to
plan better, because the supplies weren’t
already on hand.
“The truth is, the department manager
had no understanding of our dependencies, timelines or processes,” she says.
And as large orders only happened sporadically, she also hadn’t informed the
project team about the intention to place
order with sufficient notice. Rather than
take the comment to heart or defend
herself, Ms. van Zyl explained the process
and the details of the design inputs that
are required before equipment requirements can be confirmed and an order can
be placed. It was an eye-opener for the
department manager—and improved their working
relationship on future projects.
“It takes a lot of patience and practice, but I’ve
learned to listen to the feedback from the other person’s perspective and then, when I can, react from
a place of education rather than defense,” she says.
“It takes a lot of patience and practice, but I’ve learned to listen
to the feedback from the other person’s perspective and then,
when I can, react from a place of education rather than defense.”
—Laurianne van Zyl, PMP, Vast Networks, Cape Town, South Africa