Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Freedom of Speech in Project Management

Just finished reading an not very interesting article about CNN opening a new site for individuals reporting news: CNN Launches iReport.com.
In reality this is something that has been going on for some time and, I'm guessing, CNN is trying to get in line so they don't miss out completely. What I started to think would be interesting is if PM's provided the same platform for open communication between all related project groups during all phases of the project. What would happen if developers openly communicated issues that could occur? or sponsors communicated their concerns about progress and quality (good or bad)?? users actually had a platform that both sponsors and developers had direct input from (currently happens in many/most open source projects today)?
Would this help or hurt projects? My initial gut reaction is that all communication is good - right? Open honest interaction is what we should strive for......it's the AMERICAN WAY! right? Then I started to get a sinking feeling about how people would react, the various projects I've been on where side comments often cause days/weeks of delivering real information to address misunderstood, opinionated (aka political), incomplete miscommunication. I guess the level of openness needs to directly relate to the level of organizational maturity to be effective. If we fall back to project management by risk, then the ability to effectively (and honestly) communicate is a risk that needs to be addressed up front (or perhaps a few closed doors).

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