MindSonar Benchmark profiles for project teams – I wish I’d known about them!

In my previous role I was responsible for managing a major programme involving multiple project teams. Part of the programme management involved regular risk management and “lessons learned” meetings. During these meetings, representatives from each of the project teams would discuss any issues that had arisen since the last meeting, and what steps had been taken – or needed to be taken – in order to rectify the issue and prevent it happening again.

The aim of the meetings was to ensure that the systems and processes we had in place were adequate to minimise the risk of problems arising and to enable a rapid corrective response when needed. However, at times these meetings could become quite tense because there was a fine line to tread between good risk management and problem resolution on one side and the development of a blame culture on the other. This was clearer to some members than others. Some members would always want to attribute all problems to individuals, rather than to consider the more common situation of them arising from system weaknesses. Tthe result was that friction would arise between those individuals with a “name and shame” approach and other members of the programme board. This created risks to the programme itself as it could result in people being reluctant to raise issues when they spotted them in fear of being blamed.

As the manager of this programme I had to manage the situation and try to cultivate a systems approach in the individuals concerned, most of whom I had no direct line management of.

How helpful it would have been to have had MindSonar back then. I believe it would have been possible to construct a Benchmark Profile to help identify the members of each project team who would be best suited to be the risk management/lessons learnt representative. This Benchmark Profile could have been constructed in consultation with other project and programme managers to provide a narrated estimation (with consultation).

My first thoughts about this are that this benchmark profile might include the following:

Graves Drives: Ideals; Learning;

Meta Programmes:

High: Away From (for risk management); Past (for lessons learnt);Structure (for systems approach)

Low: People (to avoid blame approach)

There are likely to be others and different views which is why I would prefer a benchmark profile resulting from a narrated estimation with consultation.

It would be great to hear from other MindSonar Professionals about their thoughts on this – and about whether anyone has yet used the MindSonar tool in this context.

It would also be good to hear from project and programme managers who have found themselves in similar situations – they could find MindSonar particularly useful when allocating project roles to their team members.

What are your thoughts?  Use the comments box below to share your experiences and views on this.

About the Author

Ann Finnemore

Ann Finnemore

Coach and Therapist, living in the UK. Previously a teacher, a medical researcher and then a senior manager in the public sector. After re-training, Ann entered private practice as a coach and therapist in 2008, co- founding the business Getting You There with her husband, a physical therapist. Her first book “Life in the Driving Seat”, 2016 (Goldcrest books) and is available from Amazon.

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