Presenting projects with your audience in mind: The Project Team (2/4)

In Part 1, we introduced the topic of presenting your project to different audiences, and laid out the “Gantt Art” process for doing so. In this post, we’ll cover how to present to your project team.

Successful project presentation is a good way to advance your career. Understanding the audience, its needs, goals, and world view are keys to achieving that success. So let’s start off with the presentation to the project team.

The Project Team

Here are the common characteristics of the project team that are important to consider when making a presentation:

  • Unless you are brand new to the team, the project manager and the project team are familiar with each other.
  • Typically, the project manager is in a leadership role. In matrix project situations, these roles may be more complex.
  • The project manager and the project team members are pursuing the same goals and objectives, which can have serious implications on compensation and career growth.
  • The project team has often developed a “culture” mirroring the culture of the organization. As such, the project team has developed ways of conducting itself that become the group’s norms. These norms express themselves in particular behaviors, word usage, and methods of communicating and interacting with persons outside the immediate team.
  • The project manager is usually the “voice” of the group and has the responsibility to represent the protect team and advance their collective goals.

Putting Gantt Art to Work

All of the above project team characteristics are important. They have a bearing on how communications within the team are conducted, and factor into the project manager’s ability to communicate and to lead. So how does a project manager apply the “Gantt Art” process when preparing to conduct a meeting with the project team?

Back to Basics

The three attributes of Gantt Art (relevance, economy, and credibility) remain at the forefront of the preparation. At the project team level, there is usually more detail to consider. The visuals can be more information-rich because the project team, representing diverse facets of the project, needs to see their concerns addressed in the chart.

Economy isn’t as much of a consideration, but too much clutter may impede focus.

Above all, credibility is of utmost importance, no matter what level a project manager is presenting. The project manager needs credibility, and must cultivate the trust of the project team.

It isn’t easy to put a quantitative scale on the Gantt Art attributes. Judgment and experience weigh in heavily here. But, one might consider these attributes in question form:

  • Is this information absolutely necessary for the objective I have in mind?
  • Am I presenting too much or too little information?
  • Am I absolutely sure of my facts and, if not, what do I need to say up-front about my confidence in the information I’m going to present?

At the team level, there may be more time to wade through more information, cast out what’s not totally necessary, and be more forgiving on the matter of confidence in the information presented. Here’s an example geared towards the project team:

Agile project schedule created in OnePager Pro

In our next post, we’ll look at presentations to the corporate executive level and see how the Gantt Art process has utility for these schedule conversations.