How to Handle Pushback

Pushback is an inevitable part of our life in general and work in particular. There are different scenarios and types of pushback. Below is a simple powerful framework that you can apply in most situations to enable you to leverage pushback as a stimulation for candid and productive discussions.

  • Talk about the WHY. If pushback is expected then before vocalizing your idea or point of view (or whatever the case might be), start with the WHY. First explain why what you say next is important to consider or why it should be brought up right now or implemented the way you suggest. Then move to the solution or the discussion of the subject. Make sure your argumentation is short and straight to the point.
  • Ask about the WHY. Ask the people who are giving you pushback why they think otherwise.
  • Give them room to speak and be heard. Make sure the communication is in a professional and constructive manner. It has to be a dialogue not a tug-of-war.
  • Offer your point of view as an option and welcome other solutions for discussion. If you are putting forward a solution to the problem but all you hear is pushback with no feedback, welcome alternative ideas and discuss them as a team.
  • Come prepared. Do your research and ensure what you are bringing up is accurate and indeed relevant given the status quo. If applicable, circulate your idea/solution within the team or other project stakeholders, to get a certain level of validation and backup.
  • Use pushback as a tool to improve your solution and come back stronger.
  • Never take it personally, no matter what.

Project Budget and Tips on Effective Cost Management

Project budget – one of the toughest project constraints and the most vulnerable for a couple reasons:

  1. If the timeliness or the scope of the project change – the cost is impacted automatically.
  2. Cost of the project is generally harder to negotiate and address as it gets the most attention from business owners and other top management stakeholders across the board
  3. Changes to the cost baseline have the most impact on all of the stakeholders, starting from the delivery teams and all the way up.

There are ways on how to structure your estimates for the project correctly as well as how to manage changes to the cost effectively.

Depending on the level of maturity of PM in your company as well as the seize of your organization you might not be heavily involved in the estimation process. However when it comes to cost updates PMs or the owners always have a seat at the table. So what do you do? Be proactive! How?

Here are our tips:

Make sure you can easily identify in-scope and out-of-scope items

That will help you articulate potential impact on the cost of the project ahead of time.

Make sure you track your project timeline closely

Monitor to ensure the project budget allows for any unexpected changes to the
timeline. If you see a risk – flag it early, build awareness early, work with the team to mitigate that risk before it becomes a budget issue…

Keep your pulse on the news

What? Yep! Not a common tip and not something you will find in your average PM literature. This advice can only come from someone who
“lived a life”.  Do your best to keep your pulse on the news relevant to your projects. For example, if you plan to lead an infrastructure project you will need to track how the logistics issues are unfolding due to COVID. This will have a tremendous impact on your project cost and will put you in a much better position to work through those issues proactively.

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