Make your sausage behind closed doors

You may enjoy eating sausage, but probably less so after you watch the messy process of making it. Similarly, the week to week progress of even successful projects is filled with messy ups, downs, and course corrections. Most high-level stakeholders don’t need to see this normal noise. The project team should take care to not involve the project’s stakeholders too deeply in the day-to-day construction process.

This is not an excuse to keep stakeholders in the dark about their projects. Rather it is important to involve them quickly in any major deviation, but shield them from the continuous background noise. perception management
James T. Brown, a former NASA program manager, advises creating

“an agreeable threshold for when you will communicate things that are beyond normal status … This buffers the customer from the constant noise that exists with implementation and increases customer satisfaction.” (The Handbook of Program Management, James T. Brown, p. 225-226.)

This works best if project and program managers take pains to set realistic expectations at the beginning of a project, and then continuously manage perceptions.

Posted in Management, Projects.