1.10 Build Shared Understanding

People - Build Shared Understanding


1.10.1Break down situation to identify the root cause of a misunderstanding
1.10.2Survey all necessary parties to reach consensus
1.10.3Support outcome of parties' agreement
1.10.4Investigate potential misunderstandings

This task focuses on ensuring that everyone involved in the project – team members, stakeholders, clients – holds a clear and aligned vision of the project’s goals, scope, requirements, and overall execution plan. This involves proactive communication, collaborative decision-making, and addressing misunderstandings. Building shared understanding is crucial for minimizing miscommunications, fostering team cooperation, resolving conflicts, and ultimately increasing the project’s chances of success.

1.10.1 Break down situation to identify the root cause of a misunderstanding

  • When encountering a misunderstanding, project managers should conduct a thorough analysis.
  • Identify the underlying factors or assumptions contributing to the confusion or misalignment.
  • By pinpointing the root cause, project teams can address the situation directly and prevent further misunderstandings.

Traditional vs. Agile

  • Traditional: Utilizes extensive meetings, detailed reports, and established methods to thoroughly diagnose and document the root cause of misunderstandings.
  • Agile: Prioritizes rapid exploration, quick discussions, visual tools, and collaborative efforts to identify potential misunderstandings and their root causes efficiently.

PM Tools and Techniques

  • 5 Whys Technique: Ask “why” questions iteratively to delve deeper and identify the underlying cause of the misunderstanding.
  • Fishbone Analysis (Ishikawa Diagram): Visually map the potential causes (bones) contributing to the main misunderstanding (fish head).
  • Active Listening: Pay close attention while others speak, ask clarifying questions, and paraphrase to confirm understanding.

1.10.2 Survey all necessary parties to reach consensus

  • After identifying the root cause of the misunderstading, engage relevant stakeholders in discussions.
  • Conduct surveys, meetings, or workshops to gather input from all individuals or groups impacted by the misunderstanding.
  • Seek consensus on project objectives, scope, requirements, and expectations.
  • Encourage open dialogue and active participation.

Traditional vs. Agile

  • Traditional: Relies on formal surveys and engages a wider group of stakeholders to reach consensus, leading to potentially lengthy analysis and decision-making.
  • Agile: Emphasizes direct communication within smaller teams and utilizes targeted surveys to achieve consensus efficiently.

PM Tools and Techniques

  • Meetings (e.g., brainstorming sessions): Bring together stakeholders to discuss the situation, share perspectives, and work towards a common understanding.
  • Surveys/Questionnaires: Gather individual perspectives anonymously to identify areas of disparity and potential misunderstandings.
  • Voting Techniques (e.g., Fist of Five, Planning Poker): Facilitate group decision-making and gauge collective understanding on specific aspects of the project.

1.10.3 Support outcome of parties’ agreement

  • Once consensus is achieved, project managers must ensure that the agreed-upon decisions are well-documented and understood by all stakeholders.
  • Allocate resources and establish clear communication channels for ongoing support.
  • Monitor progress and promptly address any deviations.
  • Uphold the agreements made during the shared understanding process.

Traditional vs. Agile

  • Traditional: Creates formal agreements documented in detailed project plans and contracts, ensuring clarity but potentially hindering adaptability.
  • Agile: Utilizes backlogs, regular retrospectives, and an emphasis on continuous improvement to support agreements while remaining adaptable to changing needs.

PM Tools and Techniques

  • Communication Plans: Develop clear communication plans that outline how information will be shared, documented, and disseminated.
  • Team Agreements/Ground Rules: Establish clear expectations and guidelines for communication, collaboration, and decision-making within the project team.
  • Retrospectives/Reviews: Review project experiences, identify areas for improvement, and ensure everyone is aligned on the agreed-upon approach.

1.10.4 Investigate potential misunderstandings

  • Proactively identify areas where misunderstandings might arise.
  • Anticipate cultural, linguistic, or contextual differences.
  • Investigate any conflicting interpretations of project information.
  • Take corrective actions to prevent or resolve misunderstandings.

Traditional vs. Agile

  • Traditional: Utilizes pre-defined risk management plans and mitigation strategies to identify and address potential misunderstandings proactively.
  • Agile: Encourages open communication, frequent meetings, and ongoing feedback loops to continuously identify and address potential misunderstandings as they arise.

PM Tools and Techniques

  • Impediment Backlog: For identifying and addressing roadblocks that might hinder progress and potentially lead to misunderstandings.
  • Active Listening: Observe body language and nonverbal cues to detect potential misunderstandings that may not be explicitly voiced.
  • Feedback Loops: Establish mechanisms for ongoing feedback and clarification to prevent misunderstandings from escalating.

In summary, building shared understanding involves breaking down complex situations, engaging stakeholders, supporting agreements, and actively addressing potential misunderstandings. It fosters alignment, reduces risks, and enhances project success.

Last updated: February 28, 2024