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Project Management National Conference 2011                                           PMI India                 •   Hashem...
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Project Management National Conference 2011                                  PMI India                 14 Author’s Profile...
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  1. 1. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India Trust Is A Tool in Projects Debasis Chakrabarti, PMP, Assistant Professor, Asian School of Business Management2|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  2. 2. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India Contents 1 Abstract..............................................................................................................................4 2 Key Words .........................................................................................................................4 3 Introduction : Project, Partnership, Trust : What a PM should do?...................................4 4 Trust : Simple or Complex? What does existing literature say? ......................................5 5 Challenge : Generation, Development and Maintenance of trust .....................................6 6 Study of Challenges, Lessons & Key Factor : .................................................................7 7 Trust in Enterprise Environment: Maria (from Head Office) and Dave (PM)...................8 8 Executing with Trust: Igor Ivanov (Director) and Dave (PM)...........................................8 9 Trust, Emotional Intelligence and Teamwork: Dave (PM) and Luiza Green ( HVAC Engineer)................................................................................................................................9 10 Trusted Vendor: Shabbir Al Hashem (Client) and Dave (PM)......................................10 11 Trusted Customer: Peter (Vendor) and Dave (PM)......................................................11 12 Conclusion : Be a Superman(ager) ................................................................................12 13 References......................................................................................................................13 14 Author’s Profile .............................................................................................................143|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  3. 3. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 1 Abstract While referring to the role of a project manager, in its very first chapter PMBOK-4 underlines personal skills to be of equal importance as area specific skills, general management proficiency, knowledge and performance. PMBOK-4 further enumerates leadership, team building, motivation, communication, influencing, decision making, political & cultural awareness and negotiation skills as key interpersonal skills of an effective project manager. To start with, a project manager deals with his/her own organizational norms, culture, structure and influences. S/he in turn has to influence the organization to suit the objectives and interests of the project. Subsequently s/he has to manage conflict within the project team and also has to regularly handle conflicting stakeholder interests with an aim to arrive at a win-win situation for all concerned. Thus a project manager becomes a partner in multitudes of formal and informal groups and sub groups, cutting across disciplines, specializations, interest groups, hierarchy and even cutting across organizations. Being a trusted professional is therefore a key to success, adding immense value to the business of project management. In this context the author explores and analyzes the simple yet complex concept of trust: from the psychological viewpoint, from the point of emotional intelligence and from general management perspective. Extensive study and analysis of literature across specializations are supplemented by real life case studies depicting generation, development and maintenance of trust. Finally the paper recommends and suggests management of trust as a key differentiator between project success and failure. 2 Key Words Leadership, Influence, Trust, PMBOK. 3 Introduction : Project, Partnership, Trust : What a PM should do? Projects are unique and temporary: carried out during a limited time period, within a budget, for the achievement of a predetermined objective. Project team is a group of subject experts drawn from different sources, both internally or externally by the organization for the duration of the project itself, under a project manager’s lead, orientation and management. Project management focuses on managing two equally important aspects: tasks and relationships. Formal management tools and software are available for the smooth undertaking of tasks, which might cover planning, scheduling,4|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  4. 4. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India monitoring, controlling etc and can be performed by subject experts. However, handling complex relationships within the workplace depends mostly on the individual skills of the Project Manager (PM). While referring to PM’s role, PMBOK-4 underlines personal skills to be of equal importance as area specific skills, general management proficiency, knowledge and performance. Subsequently PMBOK-4 enumerates leadership, team building, motivation, communication, influencing, decision making, political & cultural awareness and negotiation skills as key interpersonal skills of an effective PM. Project Manager is the face of the project to the outside world encompassing own organisation and beyond. As a common link between all stakeholders PM partners them in numerous sub groups formed on common interests and goals, cutting across complex multi organisation matrices vertically, horizontally and diagonally at various levels and planes. Some groups are formal, while some are partnerships without established chain of commands. Interests and goals of member(s) of many such groups might differ and even clash. To partner and then to manage expectations of such groups while remaining within the ethical limits and to create a win-win situation for all concerned seems an impossible task. Yet an effective PM manages this by virtue of being a trusted partner in every group. 4 Trust : Simple or Complex? What does existing literature say? “Trust is the reliance by one person, group, or firm upon ......... duty on the part of another person, group, or firm to recognize and protect the rights and interests of all others engaged in a joint endeavor or economic exchange.” Trust is “the expectation … of ethically justifiable behavior – that is, morally correct decisions and actions based upon ethical principles of analysis.” - L.T. Hosmer, “Trust: The Connecting Link Between Organizational Theory and Philosophical Ethics,” Academy of Management Review, 20, 1995, p. 393, 399 Fukuyama (1996) views trust as an economic lubricant which reduces transactions costs, enables new forms of cooperation and generally furthers business activities, employment and prosperity. Barbara Misztal lists three basic things that trust does in the lives of people: makes social life predictable, creates a sense of community, makes it easier for5|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  5. 5. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India people to work together. Projects, being unique, have unpredictability. Trust brings some welcome predictability in the team, and the community sense makes working together mutually beneficial. Dirks & Ferrin (2001) suggest that people work together, contribute individually and achieve success through trust. Where trust is absent, projects can fail. In his popular blog called Project Shrink, Bas de Baar (2007) states trust as essential and, “mutual trust” as the most essential ingredient for successful projects, and therefore a core concept for Project Management. “Trust is the “undertaking of a risky course of action on the confident expectation that all persons involved in the action will act competently and dutifully.” …- J.D. Lewis and A. Weigert, “Trust as a Social Reality,” Social Forces, 63, 1985, 971 Trust is the belief that the trusted party will meet expectations. There are two parties in a trust environment: the trusted and the trustor. Trustor demonstrates willingness to be vulnerable to the actions of Trusted: Trustor is confident about Trusted’s beneficial behaviour and actions. This is a situation of absolute trust where Trustor is vulnerable because s/he stands a risk of harm if Trusted does not behave according to the expectation, more so when Trustor cannot control or enforce actions performed by Trusted. People with known conflicting interests operate and cooperate in projects, where absolute trust remains utopian. Yet some working trust is needed to operate at the zone between confidence in facts known, and opportunities from unknowns. Without trust, all new possibilities would always be considered a negative risk, causing inaction. Therefore stakeholders need to trust others as working partners to maximize efforts to enhance positive risks. They however limit their vulnerability and try to establish working trust- the minimum level between partners needed to attain common goals. One way of establishing working trust is mutual trust: when both parties act as trustor and trusted to each other. 5 Challenge : Generation, Development and Maintenance of trust “Trust... the judgment one makes on the basis of ones past interactions with others that they will seek to act in ways that favor ones interests, rather than harm them, in circumstances that remain to be defined.” - E. Lorenz, “Trust, Contract and Economic Cooperation,” Cambridge Journal of Economics, 23, 1999, p. 3056|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  6. 6. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India Past history plays an important role to answer: “Do I have the confidence and faith to rely on the other party?” Reputation of honoring promises and commitments play a vital role in developing and maintaining trust. Generating trust for the first instance is comparatively difficult. Yet, trust is a bet on possibility of future benefits. Once the bet is placed, Trustor suspends his (her) disbelief: possibility of a negative course of action is not considered any more. Thus trust generates cooperation by reducing indecisiveness and allowing actions that are otherwise impossible to consider. “Trust is a persons “expectations, assumptions, or beliefs about the likelihood that anothers future actions will be beneficial, favorable, or at least not detrimental to ones interests.” -- S.L. Robinson, “Trust and Breach of the Psychological Contract,” Administrative Science Quarterly, 41, 1996, p. 576 PM’s behaviour, action and communication must enhance the expectation of his would be partner(s) about himself: that the PM will behave or respond in a predictable and mutually expected manner. The quantum of trust will be minor initially, but each time it is honoured, trustworthiness of the PM will grow. On the other hand, vulnerability of the trustor keeps trust in a fragile state, and trust needs just one betrayal of faith to disappear, often permanently. Thus the PM must take extra care to be seen as a person who keeps promises, and in the rare cases where s/he is unable to, it must be demonstrated that there were sincere efforts from the PM’s side to honour trust. “Trust … is letting other persons (natural or artificial, such as firms, nations, etc.) take care of something the trustor cares about, where such caring for involves some exercise of discretionary powers.” - A. Baier, “Trust and Antitrust,” Ethics, 96, 1986, pp. 234, 235, 240 6 S t u d y o f C h a l l e n g e s , L e s s Everyday in the life of a project manager is a case study. This paper analyses five conversations between a PM and other stakeholders; subsequently discusses challenges faced and lessons learnt; finally the common key factor is sought, and the benefits stated. The five scenarios are different and try to cover all five project management process groups and all nine knowledge areas, including many of the individual processes feature in the cases. Subsequent analyses identify them, by underscoring, as well as demonstrate trust as a potent and common tool in each of the different scenarios.7|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  7. 7. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 7 Trust in Enterprise Environment: Maria (from Head Office) and Dave (PM). • Maria: Dave, I have news! Jack is taking over as Engineering Head. You have good equations with him, ask him for a treat ! • Dave: That’s great! Jack understands my needs of early release of drawings. I think now things will speed up. I will try to get him depute an additional designer and a couple of draughtsman.... • Maria: Dave, this is not official yet, don’t just call Jack. Wait till Monday. • Dave: Nope, I might call him to have a family dinner this weekend. Not going to talk business till its official. Trust me. • Maria: I trust you. That’s why I called you. PM is subject to influences of the organization: even in projectized or strong matrix set-up functional managers play vital roles. PM understands these realities and in turn influences his organization to acquire his temporary project team. Developing and maintaining formal or informal partnership with players in the HO or the PMO helps the key interpersonal skill “Political and Cultural Awareness”, Mutual trust between Dave and Maria trust allows communication of this timely, relevant and probably confidential information - about a vital change in the organization. Dave can now plan to enhance his opportunity in his process of acquiring project team. 8 Executing with Trust: Igor Ivanov (Director) and Dave (PM). • Dave: Good afternoon Mr Ivanov. Sorry I phoned on a holiday. • Igor: Its alright Dave, you have my permission to call me 24x7. Must be important. • Dave: Yes. Transformers are arriving soon, but plinths are not ready. I planned 100 extra hands for 15 days in agreement with our contractor RAVCO. Now they are not providing that manpower. I had a one to one talk with Imad from RAVCO to know the inside story. Actually RAVCO is8|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  8. 8. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India planning to terminate some guys due to recession, so others are sitting tight on whatever resources they have. Imad needs our unofficial help. Will you please talk to Haroon Shabibi, he will not be able to refuse you. • Igor: Shabibi, their MD, right? • Dave: That’s the one. Sorry, need your help. This is beyond my level. • Igor: Consider it done Dave. You will have your resources. Get the plinths ready. • Dave: Thanks Mr Ivanov. You will have plinths well in time. One more thing, Imad requested his name not to be mentioned, I promised him that. • Igor: Don’t worry about that, I won’t mention Imad. While monitoring and controlling the project PM faced a non-conformity from the vendor’s side: with a potential to seriously impact schedule and cost baselines and affect all other aspects of project management plan including staffing management plan. Considering the urgency, PM chose to exercise interactive communication with his vendor to identify the root cause behind the non- conformity. The cause was linked to enterprise environment factors beyond immediate control of the PM. Therefore the PM successfully used his partnership with the Sponsor to mitigate the risk. Trust played a vital role in the frank communication between the sub vendor and the PM and again in the communication between the Sponsor and the PM. 9 Trust, Emotional Intelligence and Teamwork: Dave (PM) and Luiza Green ( HVAC Engineer) • Luiza: Dave, there is a change request from Client. They now want airconditioning in the corridor too. They are ready to pay the additional charges, and give a time extension. • Dave: Congrats Lu! In fact, we anticipated this long back, and listed this as a positive risk. See the risk register; we have a response plan ready. • Luiza: Already seen that Dave, problem is Sandra from Architecture is acting stubborn. She doesn’t want to incorporate changes in her drawings.9|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  9. 9. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Dave: I guess her action has something to do with the argument you had with her in the last meeting over her colour schemes! Anyways, let me handle this, I will talk to her first, then we can have a meeting involving her, you and the others. This should be through. • Luiza: Thanks... • Dave: One more thing Luiza, let this be a lesson. Both you and Sandra are technical experts, and passionate about your work. Yet, at times one needs to empathize with the other’s view. I will also tell Sandra this. We are a team, together let’s make best of this opportunity. • Luiza: Sure Dave, I will remember the advice. Thanks a lot. Dave here manages a team issue: conflict between two project team members by using soothing technique followed by collaboration. Dave converts the threat from this conflict to an opportunity to set ground rules in his ‘develop project team’ process, to take the team from ‘norming’ to ‘performing” stage and to improve the team’s Emotional Intelligence - ability to understand oneself and to understand others. Dave demonstrates leadership and influencing skills, essential for a PM to manage project team. But he is likely to succeed because he trusts his own abilities and trusts his team, and they trust him in return. 10 Trusted Vendor: Shabbir Al Hashem (Client) and Dave (PM). • Dave: Good morning Mr Hashem. • Hashem: Very good morning Dave. What brings you to my office? • Dave: I have a problem. Its about the machines you refused to inspect and give despatch clearance. They are excellent products. • Hashem: They might be, but they are from your factory in South East Asia. You were supposed to manufacture them in Europe. Its in the Contract. • Dave: Mr Hashem, my apologies. Contract says “will be manufactured as per European specifications”. It doesn’t say to be manufactured in Europe. Take my words; these are manufactured with the same quality of our European Plant.10|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  10. 10. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Hashem: But we wanted them manufactured in Europe. We feel betrayed. • Dave: We can divert these ready machines to another project, but even if we start re-manufacturing yours as priority in Europe, it will take six months. You and I need to commission this project before summer. • Hashem: This is not correct Dave. I am disappointed. • Dave: Trust me, these machines are equally good. I promise, for your next order we will manufacture them in our European plant. I will ask Max from marketing to put this specifically in our offer. I will also speak to Mueller, our global manufacturing head if necessary. But this time...need your help. • Hashem: Ok, Dave, I know you keep promises. I will send my engineer to inspect. Communication gap between stakeholders during “Collect Requirement” process surfaced during ‘Verify Scope’ process as a conflict between interests of the manufacturer and the Client. The PM chose interactive communication to manage ‘Stakeholder Expectations’. Dave reminded Hashem about their partnership with common goal of commissioning. He avoided gold plating but offered to include Client’s specific requirement in next project, demonstrating willingness and ability to forge new partnerships cutting across levels. There is every indication that this PM and executives from the marketing department enjoyed mutual trust, enabling Dave to make this promise and increase the opportunity for his organization to bag a new order. Dave also enjoyed trust of Hashem. This trust played a vital role in creating this win-win environment. 11 Trusted Customer: Peter (Vendor) and Dave (PM). • Peter: Hi Dave, Glad to know you have joined this project as PM. . • Dave: Thanks Peter. Nice to see you too. That last project we worked together was three years ago. In fact I was going through the vendor lists. Very happy to see your name. • Peter: Right, those were great times. Working with you is always great.11|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  11. 11. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India • Dave: Peter, I think you were to deliver your last six units this month to complete your scope. What happened? Anything wrong? • Peter: Sorry Dave, your guys are yet to pay me for the last consignment. I can only supply once my dues are cleared, plus I need advance payment for the new consignment. • Dave: Well Peter, I promise I will look into the issue and sort it out. You see I just joined this team, need to know the backgrounds. But now I need at least three units. The commisioning is affected. Just send me three please? • Peter: But... • Dave: Don’t you trust me? You see, this supply will improve my negotiating power with my guys. Help me to help you, Peter? • Peter: Yes Dave, I trust you. Okay, you will get three units by next week. • Dave: That’s excellent Peter. The rest you send only after I look into the issue and then we will talk further, right? A supplier has a conflict of interest with the project team. His resulting actions are akin to a contract change request. The new PM has to administer procurements, review the payment system and find out the reason behind the non-conformity from either parties. At the same time the vendor is required to perform, otherwise project baselines are at risk. The PM quickly forms a partnership based on trust generated during a previous project. His immediate concern is addressed, but to maintain mutual trust, Peter has to deliver the materials and Dave has to deliver his promise. 12 Conclusion : Be a Superman(ager) In each of the cases mentioned, project disasters were avoided and Dave saved undisclosed yet significant amount of time and money. He improved morale and created win- win situations for the stakeholders. Dave used different tools and techniques suitable for each case depending on the process and knowledge areas to be managed in integrated manner (PMBOK processes, knowledge areas and tools are underscored in the analysis paragraphs directly after each case).12|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  12. 12. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India One tool remained common in every case: Trust. Dave made conscious efforts to generate, develop and maintain trustworthiness. He used trust as a potent tool to resolve each issue. Trust made him an effective asset to his organization, a leading positive influence in project environment; and a trusted partner to all stakeholders. Trust supplemented his other PM skills. The cases are all real. Names, situations and locations are changed though. Experienced PMs would still empathize with them. They face such situations everyday and use their experience/instinct to handle them. Some of them may not know why they are successful or not-so-successful. This article intends to contribute to the field of project management by revealing one secret weapon of successful PMs, and by encouraging other PMs to become equally effective. Let every PM use trust as a tool, be a superman(ager) like Dave and build the nation!!! 13 References 1. de Baar, Bas, “Treehugger Project management: Is Trust Important?” http://www.basdebaar.com/treehugger-project-management-trust-48.html 2. Dirks, Kurt T & Ferrin, Donald L, (2001), “The Role of Trust in Organizational Settings”, ORGANIZATION SCIENCE Vol. 12, No. 4, July-August 2001, pp. 450-467, DOI: 10.1287/orsc.12.4.450.10640 3. James, Harvey S. (2010) "World Database of Trust" http://web.missouri.edu/~jamesha/trust/index.htm. 4. Misztal, Barbara, (1996) “Trust in Modern Societies: The Search for the Bases of Social Order”, Polity Press, ISBN 0-7456-1634-8. 5. Fukuyama, F. (1996), “Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity”, Touchstone Books. 6. Project Management Institute (2008), A Guide To The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) – Fourth Edition 7. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia13|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management
  13. 13. Project Management National Conference 2011 PMI India 14 Author’s Profile Debasis Chakrabarti, PMP, is an M.Tech in Operations Research & Business Management from REC Durgapur and B.Sc. Civil Engineering from REC Kurukshetra. He has around 25 years of experience. Prior to moving into academics he worked in project divisions of globally reputed multinationals in India and the Middle East Asia. debasis.chakraborty@asbm.ac.in, dc1964@rediffmail.com14|P a g e Application of Select Tools of Psychology for Effective Project Management

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