Stripping Project Management to Its Core: Planning Happiness

Two important areas in project planning are called planning quality and planing communications. In this episode, I would like to argue that they are the two most important elements that contribute to making & keeping people happy throughout the duration of the project. Let’s see why.

Communications Management Planning = Planning Happiness - Episode 1

When you plan your project’s communication, it is all about planning how people stay informed about the progress of the project. First, you need to ask yourself: Who are the true influencers that can bolster or ruin my project?
That immediately gives you a list with the most important people you need to keep happy through the duration of your project.

The second question is about planning how to keep them happy: Who needs to know what, when and how? That’s actually three questions, I know. :) The basic idea though should be familiar to you.

Planning how to keep people happy, means you need to have clarity on what people need to know, based on their role and influence to your project. Then, you need to clarify when it is best to keep them informed: do you communicate with them daily, weekly, monthly, once per each project stage? All this is very useful information in making sure people stay happy. Last, but not least, you need to keep in mind that people have different styles. Some like to communicate mostly via phone or face to face meetings, while for others an e-mail will do just fine. Clearly define the best communication method for each of the influencers that need to be kept happy.

Quality Management Planning = Planning Happiness - Episode 2

If you start to strip down quality management to its true basics, you instantly find out that it is all about people and happiness. Nothing else.
Quality is so subjective to define on a project, that you actually plan what needs to be done and how things need to be done so that the people delivering the project, those with influence over its delivery and those using the end results are happy. Let’s see the important elements to keep in mind:

How things must be done so that I & the team are happy?

First question that needs to be answered is about how do you keep yourself (as a project manager) and the project team happy. Do you need to make sure certain processes and standards are followed? Does the team want to work on delivering certain elements one way vs. another?

The answers to these questions will take a lot of space on your quality management plan.

How must things be done so that others are happy?

Here you need to think about two specific groups of people: the influencers you identified when planning your communications management and the people that will be using of the project’s end results. Sometimes they might be the same group, but most times they will be different (e.g. managers and executives are the influencers during project execution, while end-users and key-users are the influencers once the project is delivered).

Makes sure you are crystal clear about any requirements these two groups of people have on how things must be done. Otherwise they will end up not being happy with your project and can contribute to causing trouble.

What will I actually do to keep people happy?

Once you know the whole list of things that must be done to keep everybody happy, you will need to make some decisions: Can you afford to do everything? Which happiness requirements are not that important? What are the critical things that must be done?

You will hopefully end up with a more manageable list, that you can include on your project’s activities. If there are too many answers to these questions, or if they conflict too much, then you at least know that the project will be troublesome. Knowing this, you can can stir up some tough and important conversations now rather than later, when it might be too late.

What Do You Think - Is It About Happiness?

Before you go, I would really like to know if you agree with my interpretation. Is planning communications and quality management about planning how to make and keep people happy on your project? Let me know using the comments form below.

Related content:

Stripping Project Management to Its Core: Evaluating Project Risk with a Few Questions
Stripping Project Management to Its Core: Planning What You Need to Get Things Done!
Stripping Project Management to Its Core: (Re)Defining Scope Planning

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