Magazine article PM Network

Finding the Perfect Fit

Magazine article PM Network

Finding the Perfect Fit

Article excerpt

In the Trenches

Your project team members don't need to know everything Here's how to determine the right amount of information to give each person, says John Tukums, PMP.

As a project manager, I have never complained about having a complete or "perfect" set of information about a project. Give me everything, and I will figure out where I need to focus.

Yet the same amount of information can overwhelm specialized team members. The challenge for the project manager is to find the right balance between too much and too little information for team members.

How Much Information Is Too Much?

Because every team member is different, the quickest way to find the right level of detail for individual team members is through a top-down approach to dispensing information. A bottom-up approach of slowly ratcheting up access to additional information and keeping information silos at the onset takes too long and erodes too much trust. Team members may feel you are withholding information.

Instead, I often initially provide too many details - a little bit of an "information overload" - at the beginning of the project, which allows the individual team members to prescribe the level of information they require for their own personal communication style and individual work effort.

For example, some team members with whom I work are meticulous and home in with incredible speed and mental agility on the creative information and direction needed to execute. Others are extremely cerebral and try to see the big picture before they begin assimilating information.

On one particular software project, I attended a meeting to share my experience working with the client. One project team member was a senior partner and big-picture thinker. 1 shared the traditional requirements for the project, as well as a deeper registry of information that included anecdotes and financial insights entrusted to us by the client. …

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