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Environmental Management

Each unique assignment has to do with an environment. The assignment takes shape in that environment, or the results must be given a place in it. Important factors in that environment are, for example: - the physical environment of a project result - the technology to be used - the financial resources.

Most factors are influenced by (usually many different) actors. These may or may not be located in the relevant environment. Persons and things in the relevant environment don't belong to the organization of the unique assignment. However, they can and will or will influence this. The client and the contract leader must therefore in turn influence the relevant internal and external actors and regulate animal influence. The ultimate success of the project is determined by whether the environment uses the result (as intended).

Different actors

- Policy influencers influence the "why" of the unique assignment, and therefore also the "what":
1. financiers are important when the contract requires financial resources
2. sponsors are important when the assignment is controversial
3. advocates can exert influence unexpectedly and in various directions
- Input providers are external parties who have to supply something to the unique assignment:
1. mutual involvement is minimal at "the corner shop"
2. of the contractors wins the one that can best deliver according to specification
3. the independence of the research institute guarantees an unspecified, but objectively best contribution
- Performers include:
1. all who are operationally subordinate to the contract leader
2. all who additionally report functionally to the contract leader
3. all who, moreover, fall hierarchically under the assignment leader
- Output users are all those who have to deal with the results of the unique assignment at no cost:
1. the assessment group monitors the foreseeable usability of the results on behalf of users
2. administrators should always know "what" there is, "where" it's and "whose" it is
3. the maintainers must maintain or destroy the results in a preventive or corrective manner.

Points of attention:

- actors can belong to several of the groups mentioned in a unique assignment
- actors are sometimes not aware of their role in the unique assignment
- the influence of actors can focus on the process or on the results of the unique assignment

Analyze the environment (factors and actors)

Each unique assignment has a relevant environment. All kinds of factors play a role in that environment. There's an actor behind almost every factor that causes him. Influence from the environment is therefore almost always influence of actors. An environmental (f) actor may be relevant. The relevant actor can, will or wants to influence the unique assignment. It's therefore important to analyze the environment, and specially the relevant actors in it.

To step

- Identify relevant actors and request their opinion on the initiative:
1. fame
2. Brightness
3. agree / disagree per part
4. internal nuances of this opinion
- Make any underlying problems or objectives explicit and ask for their opinion
- Consult with the strategy makers about involving interest groups in the balancing of interests
- Obtain clarity about the priority of (parts of) the unique assignment for the actor and his organization
- Determine the influence per actor in terms of:
1. nature: positive or negative
2. power
3. basis: legal, financial, capacity
4. interest
- Analyzing existing and potential interrelationships of actors, among themselves and with the unique assignment, and of possible (autonomous) developments in this
- Report the environmental analysis and record the consequences in the organization management plan or the program plan.

Points of attention:

- the relevant environment is important for each unique assignment
- at the start of each unique assignment, a thorough environmental analysis is usually worthwhile
- if a significant change occurs in the environment, the analysis may need to be repeated in the meantime

Determine failure factors and analyze risks

Every project / program has failure factors and risks. It's important to map this out before a project / program actually starts or starts up again. A failure factor analysis (FFA), also known as a risk analysis, is a useful tool in this regard. A good FFA recognizes future potential disruptions in good time, estimates the opportunities and values ​​the effects.

Any significant failure factor must then be the subject of a contingency plan ('what if' plan). High risks require broad margins.

To step:

- organize an FFA with everyone involved; check whether everyone has the same project / program in mind
- let everyone individually determine which failure factors are at play; discuss these together
- list the jointly recognized failure factors; let them estimate the chances individually
- make a joint probability estimate; let individually estimate the effects of the occurrence of each failure factor
- make a joint impact assessment; come up with solutions for the (heaviest) failure factors together
- record the final agreements in contingency plans, at least as margins on the management plans; monitor the plans through normal progress monitoring.

Points of attention:

- an FFA serves to secure the future of the project / program
- the question, "Are we ready?" should be answered with a unanimous "yes, provided" after an FFA
- you'll more than earn back the time an FFA takes

Develop support

Support in the relevant environment is important for every project / program. This support is only achieved through active development. The starting point for this's an analysis of the field of influence surrounding the project / program.

The chances of success of the project / program strongly depend on the support base for that assignment. This support doesn't automatically arise. Actors in the relevant environment may even negatively value the intended goals or the intended result.

That's why it's first of all important to map out the field of forces in which a unique task must take shape. This's the starting point for adequate development of support.

To step:

- map the actors in the relevant environment
- rate each actor:
1. interest
2. type of influence (positive / negative)
3. strength (strong / weak)
4. development opportunity
- determine who will ensure the development of support in which way: who will influence which actor, when, by what means and in what way; who brings together which actors, for which theme and in what way
- record this in the organization management plan or the program plan; execute the plan and adjust it regularly if circumstances require.

Points of attention:

- the actual results of a project / program are a function of the substantive results and the valuation thereof by those involved
- support isn't a stable factor
- the client plays a crucial role in gaining and maintaining support.

Communicate with the environment

Communication is one of the most important factors for the success of any project. Communication leads to the creation of the 'correct' image of the project and provides the basis for understanding, trust and participation. Bad communication even damages a good project.

- Projects and programs are often accompanied by (often unnecessary) tensions. An important cause is a complex environment. Many parties then exercise their influence.
- Communication can help ease these tensions. It influences the perception of the unique assignment and provides the basis for understanding, trust and participation.
- Communication is therefore an important factor for the success of a project / program. In practice, however, what communication is capable of is both overestimated and underestimated. A systematic approach offers the best chances of success.

To step:

- analyze the environment of the unique assignment
- develop a vision on principles and preconditions of communication
- determine the communication target groups, objectives and strategy
- organize the communication: take care of the staff; determine the tasks, responsibilities and powers; determine communication style, culture, resources, channels, systems and procedures and record this in the organization management plan or the program plan
- (let) carry out the communication activities
- monitor progress; adjust if necessary or adjust the plan.

Points of attention:

- good communication can't save a bad project
- communication, as an important part of organizational control, deserves sufficient priority
- spontaneous oral communication can achieve more than a large communication circus.

Communication around a project

Project communication is about communication as part of the substantive activities. But also about internal and external communication as part of both the information and organizational control of a project.

A project is often accompanied by (often unnecessary) tensions. An important cause is a complex and dynamic environment. Many parties vary their influence there or they try to do that. Communication can help ease these tensions. It influences the image of the project and provides the basis for understanding, trust and participation. Communication is therefore an important factor for the success of a project. In practice, however, what communication is capable of is both overestimated and underestimated. A project-based approach offers the best chances of success.

What communication can a project involve?

Communication with, from, within or about a project; what can we understand by project communication?

1. In the first place, communication can play an important role in the substantive part of a project. Then it concerns a widely accepted or supported project result. This type of communication can then be provided by means of a communication (sub) project
2. Secondly, project communication can be about informing the outside world (the stakeholders) about the fortunes of the project. This communication about the project is a normal part of the management aspect of the organization. Plans for this can be included in the organization management plan
3. Thirdly, project communication may concern internal communication; informing and keeping the project employees informed. This includes, for example:
- the client
- the project leader
- the project employees
- the suppliers - the users, administrators and maintainers of the project result.
This communication is also part of the management aspect of the organization. This concerns internal consultation structures, meeting reports, appointment lists, etc.
4. Fourth, project communication can deal with the 'truth' in the project with regard to the project result and the substantive project activities. This truth is recorded in the decision documents. Using the management aspect of information, the project manager controls this communication.

The steps in project communication as a subproject

Project communication as a sub-project requires the following steps:

- analyze the environment of the project
- develop a vision on, and the principles and preconditions for, communication
- determine the communication target groups, objectives and strategy
- formulate the communication requirements
- design the communication (resources, systems, procedures, media etc)
- prepare the communication:
1. create draft texts
2. purchase resources
3. instruct the people who will actually communicate (in this case the communication organization)
4. create the realization program for the communication, etc)
- communicate according to this realization program
- ensure communication and provide aftercare.

TGKIO management plans

Tackling a communication sharing project also involves TGKIO management plans. These plans are part of the project decision documents. The communication sub-project manager monitors the progress of these plans. Where necessary, he adjusts the communication or adjusts the communication partial project plan.

The other project communication components can be included in the overall project organization management plan or in the overall project information management plan.

Points of attention:

- good communication can't save a bad project
- communication, as an important part of organizational control, deserves sufficient priority
- spontaneous oral communication can achieve more than a large communication circus.

Crisis management in projects

Within projects, managing problems is part of the normal activities. However, a number of specific steps and points of attention are necessary to deal with a crisis. This's a crisis within projects. There are similarities with extinguishing a burning building, but there are also differences.

What's crisis management?

We define crisis management as follows: managing problems in which the survival of the project and / or the organization within which the project is carried out is at stake.

So: there's a crisis if there's serious doubt about the continuation of the project. This's often because the project is unable to deliver the desired result or fails to deliver on time. Continuing the project makes no sense anymore, because the organization can no longer do anything with the result.

How do you see a crisis coming?

A crisis has many manifestations and whether it's a crisis depends largely on the observer. The sooner you recognize a crisis, the more options you've for taking timely measures and the sooner the right measures are taken, the greater the chance that the crisis can be averted.

The following characteristics can announce crisis situations:

- there's a pattern of stagnant progress; repeated postponement of the same deadline
- the predictability of interventions is decreasing
- relationships between people are under pressure
- the relationship between the project and the project environment is coming under pressure
- there's an increasing sense of urgency.

How do you deal with a crisis?

There are three elements that are important in an (approaching) crisis:

- Correct identification of the crisis and start of crisis management:
1. observe and analyze signals
2. short analysis of the problem
3. appoint a crisis manager and / or crisis team with corresponding mandate
- Drawing up and executing a crisis plan:
1. damage control
2. analyze causes of crisis
3. working out solution scenarios
4. implement solution scenario
5. restore calm / back to regular situation from before crisis
- Evaluation
- To communicate:
1. unambiguously
2. not negative
3. not false.

It can't work without power

The person who manages a project can't do this without using any form of power. Power often evokes a nasty sound, but is in itself a neutral concept.

Power (in the definition of Professor Mulder) is a relationship between at least two individuals or groups in which one can direct or determine the behavior of the other, more than the other way round. In other words, it's the ability to direct, to some extent, the behavior of others. Power is something that the owner can or can't use. Among other things, power is assigned to someone from 'above' by the organization (position power). This could include the possibility of imposing penalties and giving rewards such as fun work, travel, a bonus, etc.

Position power as a condition

At a minimum, the project leader should have some "positional power" (also known as formal or legitimate power. In other words, he must have the powers that are commensurate with the task and responsibilities. People will want to do something for him because they find that he's "legally" allowed to give them assignments. The assigned function in the organization also grants the right to access all kinds of networks. As a result, people are formally and informally more accessible to each other and access is easy to all kinds of information.

The project leader also has power because he has access to resources such as personnel, equipment and money. In many cases, therefore, the project leader has no power, if he isn't able to do this. It goes without saying that these sources of power have power only when others appreciate these means. The value of position power doesn't only depend on the importance that the employee attaches to someone's formal position, to reward or punishment. Just as decisive is the extent to which the organization that created the position actually makes the resources available.

Nothing happens without personal power

Opposite power, where power is thus assigned by the organization, is personal power. This's based on the person. It's power that's assigned to the project leader by 'down'. In everyday language it's sometimes referred to as charisma, influence, attraction or authority. Here project team members do something for the project leader out of respect for his knowledge, experience or energy. In some cases he gets something done because people want to identify with him, want to be part of his project.

The less powerful make the powerful

Power had previously been defined as a relationship between at least two individuals or groups. The attentive reader has already understood that this means that the less powerful people also determine how the relationship works - by what they do and by what they leave. Of course, the powerful have more influence on the relationship, but they can't do without the other or others who have less power. The less powerful make the powerful. In other words, the properties of the powerful aren't 100 percent decisive. Power is a relationship of which the less powerful is part.

Power for the project leader

Power is a relationship between at least two individuals or groups in which one can direct the other's behavior more than the other way around. The project leader also has power because he has resources such as personnel, equipment, and money (and in many cases, the project leader has no power because he doesn't have it).

Power is a relationship between at least two individuals or groups in which one can direct the other's behavior more than the other way around. Power is therefore a relationship issue and therefore has as much to do with the project leader (as powerful) as with the employee (the less powerful).

Position power: the balance between responsibilities with powers

I think the project leader should have some "positional power" (also called formal or legitimate power. This power is assigned to the project manager by the organization. Sometimes employees do their job for the project manager because they feel it's "rightful") allowed to give them 'assignments', in which case there's hierarchical or management power.

The core of the formal power issue is that the project leader must have the powers that are in accordance with his responsibilities. For example, if the project manager is held responsible for the budget, he must have the authority (= power) to send something in there as well. So if he doesn't have resources like personnel, equipment and money, employees won't do anything for him on formal grounds.

Position power also includes the possibility of punishment and reward in the books. This source is less relevant for project leaders. The only reward power a project leader can have is to assign attractive work to someone, pay a bonus, or take the employee to important meetings.

The source of power must be appreciated

It goes without saying that these formal sources of power have value only when others value them. The value of position power doesn't only depend on the importance that the employee attaches to someone's formal position, to reward or to punishment. Just as decisive is the extent to which the organization that created the position actually makes the resources available.

You get personal power from followers

Opposite power, where power is thus assigned by the organization, is personal power. This's based on the person. It's power that's assigned to the project leader by 'down'. In everyday language it's sometimes referred to as charisma, influence, attraction or authority. Here project team members do something for the project leader out of respect for his knowledge, experience or energy. In some cases he gets something done because people want to identify with him, want to be part of his project.

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