There’s a classic story of the project lead who scheduled a Go / No-Go meeting for one of their project’s early stages – without sending pre-reading material; no review of project deliverables. The reason given? “The business never takes ownership, they don’t want to see the details. They see it all as needless details and IT bureaucracy”. The punch line, of course, was that the meeting got delayed a few days when two of the steering committee members asked for a detailed review.
- Don’t assume the worst. It’s unprofessional, plus you are enabling “bad behavior” and / or setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy. You have to go wildly in the other direction! Have project participants, stakeholders, domain experts, and steering committee members prove it to you, every single time, that they do not want input. Heaven forbid that they actually do have an interest; if you don’t give them the opportunity, you look dumb for not facilitating it. Plus, this aggressive pull for participation reinforces the idea that we want them to take ownership, that when we ask for approval and “signoff”, we are serious.
- Always give folks material to review before any meeting, at least a day in advance. Also, and especially if there is any chance that folks might not be on the same page – absolutely go and pre-sell your ideas, and/or prime the pump so the participants know esxaclty what the meeting is about.