One aspect of project management that takes time and experience to develop is the ability to “manage up.” This involves communicating with your sponsors and management stakeholders and engaging them in active support for your project. When you sit with your management team – direct managers or project sponsors – you need to do a couple things:
- Make very efficient use of the limited time that you have with them
- Be prepared to answer questions and concerns they may have
- Put them to work
RAID is perfect for this. Your management team won’t be interested in your tactical actions (unless their name is on them), but they should be interested in open issues, decisions and critical risks. In particular, focus on decisions; the ones they need to make or the decisions they need to help get made by others. Sponsors with something at stake in your project want to feel like they are involved and helping to move the project ahead. If you don’t give them something constructive to do, they may try to add their own version of “help” and get uncomfortably involved in your project.