What Does Your Project Look Like from the Outside-In Perspective?

December 2nd, 2011

Leading and motivating matrixed staff, handling client concerns and competing priorities, balancing the triple constraints, maneuvering tight schedules, producing rock star status reports… Sound familiar?  Yep, all in a day in the life of a Project Manager.

You are a talented Project Manager with your finger on the project pulse…

You know the implications of slippages of your dependent activities…

If you were asked, “where are we at right now on XYZ project“, you could pinpoint your exact location in terms of status and delivery with laser precision…

In Summary – you know your project INSIDE-OUT.

But when was the last time that you took a strategic pause to observe your project from the OUTSIDE-IN perspective?

Because Project Managers are handling so many of the project mechanics as previously described, it is easy to get down in the weeds.  And don’t get me wrong, getting down to the gnats eyelash is required at times to get the job done (right).

So what do I mean when I say to observe your project from the outside-in and why you should do this regularly?

Here are some questions to ask yourself when a fresh perspective is needed:

1.  Am I acting as an integrator, helping my project team and other stakeholders connect the dots?

2.  How does my project sponsor perceive the current status and health of my project and is (s)he able to clearly articulate merits to other senior leaders?

3.  Are key stakeholders kept in the loop about efforts that are currently underway as well as upcoming milestones?

4.  Has it been too long since you reminded all involved why we have undertaken the project (what are the intended benefits and expected outcomes)?

Perceptions are powerful.  Project Managers spend more than 70% of their time communicating.  Some would increase that figure in upwards of 90%.  Either way, both statistics reinforce the need to incorporate multiple perspectives into our messaging.  Building awareness and keeping stakeholders apprised is vital to project health.

The next time you are updating that status report or pulling together your dashboard content, take a look at your project from the outside-in.  Who knows, maybe a fresh perspective is exactly what the PM doctor ordered.

About the author:  Joe Giampa is a seasoned management consultant, Project Management Professional (PMP), and a Prosci certified Change Management practitioner.  Joe shares his experiences gained over the last twelve years while bringing to life the visions of senior leaders by implementing leading-edge solutions, systems, and processes for multi-billion dollar companies.  Joe is the Chief Project Manager at VeriScope, Inc. – a leading provider of Project Management consulting, staffing, and training to commercial and government clients looking to  mature internal project management capabilities and maximize successful project outcomes.

Follow Joe on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.  Read other blog posts.

5 Responses to “What Does Your Project Look Like from the Outside-In Perspective?”

  1. Tom Baker Says:

    Thanks for the post. Very insightful advice 🙂

  2. Sean Archer Says:

    Great post! I’m going to share this with my staff.

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