Sensei_book_imageSeek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

In just about any situation, it’s much more important to listen and understand than it is to be immediately understood. When faced with a problem on your project, it is important to act as a facilitator and get all the right people involved in the conversation. The team members or subject matter experts on the project will often have a very good understanding of the issues and will be in a good position to provide input on how best to resolve them. By listening to their concerns and understanding the situation and their suggestions, you will be armed with all the right information to make key decisions to move forward.

When we fully understand the situation, we’re better able to ask the right questions to get to a resolution. After having gathered the facts, try to provide options for the key stakeholders to review. You can accomplish this by modeling each scenario in Microsoft Project and even use the “Inactivate Task” feature to show what the schedule would look like with and without the proposed solution.

Use Microsoft Project to facilitate effective communicationsUse Microsoft Project to facilitate effective communications

As project managers, we’re often the hub of communication and will experience better results if our stakeholders feel understood before we report status or propose changes to the project. In your next team meeting, try letting team members take the lead on reporting status to the group instead of repeating what they told you prior to the meeting. You will find that they are much more open to being influenced if they feel understood first.

This excerpt is from the new book, Proactive PPM with Microsoft Project 2016 for Project Online and Project Server: A best practices guide for project managers, written by Kenneth Steiness and Dale Howard and published by Sensei Project Solutions.

Read “Habit 1: Be Proactive” here.

Read “Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind” here.

Read “Habit 3: Put First Things First” here.

Read “Habit 4: Think Win-Win” here.

Read “Habit 6: Synergize” here.

Read “Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw” here.

Written by Kenneth Steiness

Kenneth-Steiness_avatar_1456165080-120x120Kenneth Steiness PMP/PMI-SP MCP MCT is an industry expert on Microsoft Project and Project Server and has worked in the project management and scheduling field for over 16 years. He has managed customer engagements in over 13 countries worldwide and throughout the United States, in addition to presenting at world-wide conferences for Microsoft, PMI, and to many Microsoft Project User Groups over the years. Kenneth is the Managing Partner & VP of Delivery of Sensei Project Solutions, a Microsoft Partner specializing in Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) deployments with Microsoft Project and Project Server on the SharePoint platform. Sensei offers a complete set of services to help an organization make their Microsoft PPM deployment successful, including full implementation and services, training as well as pre-configured solutions and report packs. Visit or contact for more information.

View all posts by: Kenneth Steiness