Two Types of Power to Move Your Learning Development Project Forward
What Does a Project Manager Do, Anyway?
We’ve talked about project management quite a bit on our blog, in videos, and in webinars. It’s a topic that contains multitudes. If you’re running a course development team, you need project management to help you develop your course on time, in scope, and within budget. I’d like to take a moment to highlight a couple of considerations that I’ve found pretty useful.
Think about Power
There are multiple kinds of power in business relationships. Two of the most common are positional—you can make people do stuff because you can fire them if they don’t—and personal—people do stuff for you because they want to.
- Use Other People’s Positional Power. Learning development project managers (and others who manage learning development projects) often don’t have positional power. They don’t manage the people who do the work. But project managers can leverage those with positional power. If you have an SME whose time you need to finish a course, for example, you may not be able to fire (or, well, incentivize) them if they don’t help. But if the project is a high priority, you might be able to talk to those with positional power—the SME’s manager, the CEO, the training director—and they may be able to help dedicate the SME’s time.
- Use Your Own Personal Power. Another way to ensure your course development stays on track is to put yourself in a position where people want to help you. This is challenging; it is also potentially more effective. Few will go above and beyond because they’re afraid of losing their job. But if they believe in the project, believe in the course, they’re often willing to dedicate even their nights and weekends to making it successful.
You’re Probably Already Using Personal Power
If someone did something for you just because you asked it—not because (or not only because) their job required it—that’s personal power in effect. I’ve found personal power idiosyncratic. It depends on you, how you interact with people, and how they interact with others. Reflect on times that you’ve effectively persuaded someone to help you, and see if you can replicate the accomplishment in other contexts.
Check out our blog for posts and videos for more tips and techniques about effective project management for learning projects.
Until next time,
Microassist Senior Learning Architect
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