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Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Just revisited the Azimov Foundation Trilogy and it has me thinking about the confidence factor on our project teams.

If you have not read Foundation, consider picking it up.  The story starts with Hari Seldon, a psychohistorian, predicting the collapse of the intra-galactic empire and a 30,000 year dark age before a second empire can establish itself.  Seldon creates a plan that will shrink the dark age from 30,000 years to just 1,000 years.  Seldon launches his plan by seeding a "Foundation" at the edge of the galaxy.

The story is complex and draws you in, but the key for this discussion is the fact that the people of the foundation have bought into the Seldon plan and are 100% confident in the plan's success.  This confidence plays a role in the early successes of the foundation and the Seldon plan.

Living in day-to-day project world, I wonder just how powerful that kind of confidence would be if I could instill it in my project teams.  While we can't ignore risks and team member concerns, I believe that a key role of the Project Management team is to reassure the project's team that "we can do this,"  and that "It will all work out in the end."

The key skill to make this work (and be believable) is to engage on the real issues and underlying obstacles to project success in a visible way.  If (and it's a big if) the project team knows that you (the PM) will engage and work issues and obstacles until they go away - then the team can buy into the "we can do this" message and focus on their jobs instead of worrying about systemic issues.

So, how do you make this happen? 

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