People and Projects - Stephen Benton


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This is one of many excellent presentations given over the last three years of the eVa in the UK series. They can also be found in the archive at: along with back-copy video footage in http://evaintheuk/pmchannel
EVA19, the long established Earned Value conference, has this year described its theme as looking at a project management ‘ABC’ – Agile, Benefits and Complex.
The four day event, which returns to the Armourers Hall, runs from the 19th to 22nd of May with the flagship conference being held on 20th and 21st May and workshops before and after.
The conference will look at how this ‘ABC’ can be made to work within a portfolio and how agile fits into major and minor projects. It will investigate how to manage the relationship between portfolio benefits and project budgets, and whether complex projects even exist.
Conference organiser and APM chairman, Steve Wake says:
“Currently there is little evidence that this ‘ABC’ is being effectively deployed and managed. This conference aims to address that concern through EVA’s trademark blend of learning and professional development. Case studies and unusual presentations, delivered by top-notch speakers and experienced practitioners, will again engage and entertain the audience.
We’ve used string quartets to illustrate points in the past and this year we will be using a Blues band for the first time.”
Speakers across the two days include many familiar faces from the APM events programme including; Adrian Pyne of the APM ProgM SIG ‘Changing the project wasteland with a portfolio culture that works,’ APM Honorary Fellow Tim Banfield Director at the Major Projects Authority and Stephen Jones, Sellafield and Planning Monitoring and Control Specific Interest Group (PMC SIG) and Carolyn Limbert of the APM PMC SIG to talk about agile, benefits and complex.
Peter Taylor, the Lazy Project Manager will be presenting on “The project manager who smiled” and the ever popular Stephen Carver will present the leadership lessons that can be learnt from Alfred the Great.
In addition, there will be speakers from AIRBUS, TfL, Bloodhound, Heathrow T2 and London Tideway Tunnels.
The conference will be supplemented by a number of workshops being held at the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Bloomsbury Square on Monday 19th and Thursday 22nd May 2014.
'eVa in the UK' is building a reputation, brand and a learning legacy for the Project Management Profession. The event series is now in its nineteenth year. It is almost as if it all kicked-off when Steve Wake was in short trousers and knights roamed the land on their chargers!
#eva19 is an excellent example of Listening, Learning and Leading #apmLLL in action, and great opportunity for professional development.

I would encourage anyone who is interested in 'Building a better Project Manager,' to take a look at the web site, and book your place and get involved.

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People and Projects - Stephen Benton

  1. 1. People and ProjectsPeople and Projects píÉéÜÉå=_ÉåíçåpíÉéÜÉå=_Éåíçå råáîÉêëáíó=çÑ=tÉëíãáåëíÉêråáîÉêëáíó=çÑ=tÉëíãáåëíÉê EVA 16 Conference 2011EVA 16 Conference 2011
  2. 2. Making Sense of Something....
  3. 3. Standish FindingsStandish Findings
  4. 4. ..................Of the Project Environment..Of the Project Environment.. Time to MarketTime to Market Emergent TechnologiesEmergent Technologies StandardsStandards Team PressureTeam Pressure InterInter--Team NetworksTeam Networks Interpersonal/SkillsInterpersonal/Skills CommunicationCommunication BudgetBudget TimeTime QualityQuality Professional BoundariesProfessional Boundaries Personal SkillPersonal Skill Stake holdersStake holders PoliticsPolitics RoleRole Benton 2006
  5. 5. Projects: Conflict CostsProjects: Conflict Costs 30% of Manager30% of Manager’’s times time For everyFor every ££60,000 a year60,000 a year ££18,000 is spent on18,000 is spent on conflict managementconflict management Criteria of success: On Budget, of Cost andCriteria of success: On Budget, of Cost and expected functionality.expected functionality. Source: Academy of Management JournalSource: Academy of Management Journal
  6. 6. Making Sense of Something....
  7. 7. The Effects of FailedThe Effects of Failed ResolutionResolution FirstFirst--Order Effects (quantifiable)Order Effects (quantifiable) Replacement costs, includingReplacement costs, including termination costs, recruitmenttermination costs, recruitment SecondSecond--Order Effects (harder toOrder Effects (harder to quantify)quantify) Increased supervision or managementIncreased supervision or management activitiesactivities ThirdThird--Order Effects (impossible to trulyOrder Effects (impossible to truly quantify)quantify) PassivePassive--aggressive behavioursaggressive behaviours
  8. 8. Passive- Aggressive Conflict • Withholding information • Judgemental • Opting out • Authoritarian decision making • Personalises • Competitive • Dogmatic
  9. 9. Project Environment:Project Environment: Project delaysProject delays Missed opportunitiesMissed opportunities Confused communicationConfused communication Inconsistent informationInconsistent information Teams failTeams fail Difficult to retainDifficult to retain ‘‘goodgood’’ people/maintainpeople/maintain good relationshipgood relationship
  10. 10. Psychological EnvironmentPsychological Environment Conflict is: RiskyConflict is: Risky Anxiety provokingAnxiety provoking Inhibits Information processingInhibits Information processing Influenced by: Physical Habitual dimension e.g.Influenced by: Physical Habitual dimension e.g. FightFight……OROR…….Flight.Flight Cognitive Habitual tendencyCognitive Habitual tendency AvoidanceAvoidance……!.!.……oror…………!!…………ConfrontationConfrontation Ways to respondWays to respond……..
  11. 11. Natural Reactions to ConflictNatural Reactions to Conflict píêáâáåÖ=Ä~ÅâpíêáâáåÖ=Ä~Åâ -- leads to escalationleads to escalation -- damages relationshipdamages relationship dáîáåÖ=áådáîáåÖ=áå -- results in poor outcomeresults in poor outcome -- rewards bad behaviourrewards bad behaviour _êÉ~âáåÖ=çÑÑ=_êÉ~âáåÖ=çÑÑ=-- can be beneficialcan be beneficial -- often hasty & regrettedoften hasty & regretted
  12. 12. ......The Conflict Environment......The Conflict Environment CognitiveCognitive EmotionalEmotional StagesStages StylesStyles PersonalitiesPersonalities
  13. 13. Potential Cognitive BiasesPotential Cognitive Biases SelectivitySelectivity AnchoringAnchoring ConfirmatoryConfirmatory
  14. 14. Cognitive ResponsesCognitive Responses Highly selectiveHighly selective Habitual responses (e.g. based upon the evolvingHabitual responses (e.g. based upon the evolving relationship rather than the issue)relationship rather than the issue) AnchoringAnchoring First judgement, first impressionFirst judgement, first impression Limited recallLimited recall Limited reliable memoryLimited reliable memory
  15. 15. bãçíáçå~ä=båîáêçåãÉåíbãçíáçå~ä=båîáêçåãÉåí Response to conflictResponse to conflict –– often a contest,often a contest, Win/Lose, FightWin/Lose, Fight ----FlightFlight Effect of angerEffect of anger –– changes how processchanges how process information (narrower), and changes goal toinformation (narrower), and changes goal to retaliation (Daly, 1991)retaliation (Daly, 1991) Emotions on one side generate emotions onEmotions on one side generate emotions on the otherthe other
  16. 16. Anxiety can present as:Anxiety can present as: Position holdingPosition holding Fixating on the personalFixating on the personal Narrow range of optionsNarrow range of options Emotional ImpactEmotional Impact Seek ConfirmationSeek Confirmation
  17. 17. Making Sense of Something....
  18. 18. Two Classic Conflict Styles I win you lose Hard on people Task focused, anchored, limited options Short term, results orientated Win / Win People are part of the solution Relationships matter Exploration of options Long-term perspective, flexible
  19. 19. Types of Conflict: Which am ITypes of Conflict: Which am I dealing with?dealing with? Task FocussedTask Focussed Differences in viewsDifferences in views and opinionsand opinions Based on facts &Based on facts & reasoningreasoning IntellectualIntellectual RelationshipRelationship FocussedFocussed Anchored in personalAnchored in personal differencesdifferences Influenced byInfluenced by history/assumptionshistory/assumptions Feelings & emotionsFeelings & emotions
  20. 20. Conflict between StylesConflict between Styles Directive Focus Pace Action Delivery Flexibility Dynamic interaction New Ideas/Pace Share holder engagement Values: Consensus Planning Risk analysis More Information More Time Details Goal Setting S. Benton, 2009
  21. 21. Conflict between StylesConflict between Styles Lack of Focus Indecisiveness Dragging heels/slow Misses the point Restriction of flexibility No interaction Slow, methodical pace Violation of values Sudden change Interruptions or time pressure. Lack of Information Time wasted Task rushed Distraction
  22. 22. Sources of ConflictSources of Conflict Knowing where we areKnowing where we are •• OrientationOrientation •• PositionPosition--takingtaking •• Search for SolutionsSearch for Solutions •• Crisis/ DeadlockCrisis/ Deadlock •• SettlementSettlement •• FinalisationFinalisation
  23. 23. Words 7% Tone 38% Body Language 55% Then Saying where we are...Then Saying where we are...
  24. 24. aêK=píÉéÜÉå=_ÉåíçåI=OMMN
  25. 25. Professor Stephen Benton _ìëáåÉëë=mëóÅÜçäçÖó=`ÉåíêÉ råáîÉêëáíó=çÑ=tÉëíãáåëíÉê Postgraduate Courses: M.Sc. Business Psychology M.A. Psychology for Project Management Short Courses
  26. 26. Emotional and CognitiveEmotional and Cognitive EnvironmentEnvironment Negotiation is conflict (lowNegotiation is conflict (low ------high)high) UncertaintyUncertainty AnxietyAnxiety Real timeReal time
  27. 27. Conflict Shaped by:Conflict Shaped by: Different ways of seeing thingsDifferent ways of seeing things Personal preferencesPersonal preferences Pace of responsePace of response Range of response andRange of response and Form of responseForm of response
  28. 28. Your competence is being questioned Integrity in doubt Hostility Gossip Lack of attention to detail Challenging your authority Clock watching Lack of commitment Bullying Escalation behind your back What can trigger yourWhat can trigger your Information Processing ??Information Processing ??
  29. 29. ACCOMMODATE Concede for the sake of the relationship COLLABORATE Creatively problem solve so both parties win AVOID Sidestepping the issue COMPETE Be a winner at any cost COMPROMISE Split the difference Assertiveness Cooperativeness High Mod Low ModerateLow High
  30. 30. ‘‘CompetingCompeting’’ ““My way or the highwayMy way or the highway…”…” Using whatever power seems appropriate Standing up for your rights For important, urgent issues where there is no room for maneuver Assertiveness and Clarity are vital here
  31. 31. Be hard on the problem, not the person / peopleBe hard on the problem, not the person / people Understand who you are negotiating withUnderstand who you are negotiating with Seek new information, and explore new perspectivesSeek new information, and explore new perspectives Develop new options for mutual gainDevelop new options for mutual gain So how can we implement these under suchSo how can we implement these under such intense interpersonal exchangesintense interpersonal exchanges……..?..? Effective Conflict ResolutionEffective Conflict Resolution StrategiesStrategies
  32. 32. Some GuidelinesSome Guidelines Work from realWork from real understandingunderstanding rather thanrather than assumptionsassumptions Try to put yourselfTry to put yourself in their shoesin their shoes –– people rarely think they are beingpeople rarely think they are being unreasonable..unreasonable.. Focus on theFocus on the outcomeoutcome you wantyou want Be awareBe aware of your personal triggersof your personal triggers –– andand remember it is not personalremember it is not personal Focus on the views youFocus on the views you shareshare –– not justnot just the differences..the differences.. Separate the issues from theSeparate the issues from the personperson Active listeningActive listening -- reflect back messagesreflect back messages and feelings tooand feelings too Try to choose the time and placeTry to choose the time and place Take aTake a time outtime out if necessaryif necessary Focus onFocus on problem solvingproblem solving and sharedand shared actionsactions
  33. 33. Conflict ResolutionConflict Resolution -- NegotiationNegotiation How to make it better:How to make it better: Go back to information gatheringGo back to information gathering Agree not to agreeAgree not to agree Highlight the consequences of failureHighlight the consequences of failure Try a proposed solutionTry a proposed solution Call in an outside partyCall in an outside party
  34. 34. Disconnect behaviours: • Becomes aggressive • Impatient • Irritable, demanding Stress SignalsStress Signals Irritants: • Lack of focus • Indecisiveness • Being out of control • Incompetence Behaviour: • Allow for fast action • Take decisions or time out • Put them in control
  35. 35. Disconnect behaviours : • Becomes silent, withdrawn or hurt • Judgmental, impersonal, resistant • Stubborn and over cautious Stress SignalsStress Signals Irritants : • Unfair or impersonal treatment • Violation of values • Sudden change • Interruptions or time pressure Behaviour: • Personal contact to restore trust • Understanding sincerity • Put the task aside for another day
  36. 36. Conflict ResolutionConflict Resolution -- NegotiationNegotiation More tips:More tips: Gathering InformationGathering Information Open questionsOpen questions Probing questionsProbing questions Closed questionsClosed questions Hypothetical questionsHypothetical questions
  37. 37. bãçíáçå~ä=êÉëéçåëÉëbãçíáçå~ä=êÉëéçåëÉë Response to conflictResponse to conflict –– often fight or flightoften fight or flight ReactionsReactions -- striking back, giving in and breaking offstriking back, giving in and breaking off Effect of angerEffect of anger –– changes how process informationchanges how process information (narrower), and changes goal to retaliation (Daly,(narrower), and changes goal to retaliation (Daly, 1991)1991) Emotions on one side generate emotions on theEmotions on one side generate emotions on the otherother Allow other side to let off steamAllow other side to let off steam –– do not react, butdo not react, but listenlisten
  38. 38. ACCOMMODATE Concede for the sake of the relationship COLLABORATE Creatively problem solve so both parties win AVOID Sidestepping the issue COMPETE Be a winner at any cost COMPROMISE Split the difference SITUATIONSSITUATIONS when they should be usedwhen they should be used ??
  39. 39. Definitions of ConflictDefinitions of Conflict ““perceived divergence of interests, or a beliefperceived divergence of interests, or a belief that the partiesthat the parties’’ current aspirations cannot becurrent aspirations cannot be achieved simultaneouslyachieved simultaneously”” (Pruit & Rubin, 1986)(Pruit & Rubin, 1986) ““interaction of interdependent people whointeraction of interdependent people who perceived incompatible goals & interferenceperceived incompatible goals & interference from the other party in achieving their goalsfrom the other party in achieving their goals”” (Hocker & Wilmot, 1991)(Hocker & Wilmot, 1991)