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A Systems Approach: The Facilitator (11 out of 11)

A Systems Approach: The Facilitator (11 out of 11)

"If we address needed behavior change within Project Management, team performance will improve, but that will increase the required skills of Integrated PMs."

Integrated PM Managers and project sponsors often tell me stories of how, despite their best efforts to help a project team in a difficult situation, the situation gets worse. Each time the facilitator does something to improve things; the situation either deteriorates immediately or temporarily improves before getting even worse.

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Diagnosis-Intervention: The Facilitator (7 out of 11)

Diagnosis-Intervention: The Facilitator (7 out of 11)

“If I try to facilitate change within our project teams, then we might be able to increase the organization’s project performance, but every time I try, it seems that I become more destructive than if I let things alone.”

The group effectiveness model, the core values, and the ground rules for effective groups that I have written about in previous blog posts are all tools for diagnosing behavior in a project team. But you still need a way to implement these tools. Specifically, you have to know when to intervene, what kind of intervention to make, how to say it, when to say it, and to whom.

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Effectiveness Model: The Facilitator (2 out of 11)

Effectiveness Model: The Facilitator (2 out of 11)

“If our project sponsor fills the role of ‘Facilitator’, then our team and project will become more effective, but the Sponsor will need to focus on the correct measures, and not micro-manage the project state variables.”

The Group Effectiveness Model

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Low-level Inferences: The Facilitator (8 out of 11)

Low-level Inferences: The Facilitator (8 out of 11)

"If we use the Integrated PM approach to team facilitation, then we will improve communication and project performance, but we have to reduce high-level reactive speaking and pay more attention to low-level thinking."

As an Integrated PM facilitator, you are constantly trying to make sense of what is happening in a project team. You watch members say and do things and then you make inferences about what their behavior means and how it is either helping or hindering the project's process. An inference is a conclusion you reach about something that is unknown to you, on the basis of what you have observed. For example, if in a meeting you see someone silently folding his arms across his chest, you may infer that he disagrees with what has been said but is not saying so.

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PM Sponsorship: The Facilitator (10 out of 11)

PM Sponsorship: The Facilitator (10 out of 11)

"If we use additional resources, then we can increase our productivity rates, and quality, to a point, but additional resources can be problematic."

Internal Facilitation such as the kind the project manager should perform, or External Facilitation such as the kind the project sponsor should perform, involves developing a relationship with a the project team a psychological contract in which the team gives you permission to help them because they consider you an expert and trustworthy facilitator. Building this relationship is critical because it is the foundation on which you use your facilitator's knowledge and skills; without the foundation, you lose the essential connection with the project team that makes your facilitation possible and powerful. To build this relationship, you need a clear understanding and agreement with the team about your role as facilitator and about how you will work with the team to help it accomplish its objectives. I have found that many of the facilitation problems my colleagues and I face stemmed from lack of agreement with the project team about how to work together.

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