Interview with Nita about Project Politics

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Nita MartinPolitics. Every project has politics. Today I interview Dr Nita, the Managing Director of Pure Indigo. Nita Martin’s book Project Politics: A Systematic Approach to Managing Complex Relationships is Nita’s. It addresses the complex topic of managing projects.
Nita, “politics”, can refer to many things to different people. What is project politics?
Project politics is a common term used to describe projects. This is how people make decisions about the project’s external and internal affairs.
Every organisation has office politics. Are you more concerned with projects than business as usual?
This is difficult to compare because it depends on both the nature of the project and the normal business environment. My experience shows that business as usual is stable with very few changes to the working environment. It can feel like politics is more because of the uniqueness and intensity of projects. Because they are often thrown together, it is easy to find yourself in unfamiliar work environments.
This is a good thing. This environment can also cause problems that are not apparent in other environments. What should we be looking out for?
Political situations are not always the cause of project problems. It is important to be aware of the overall goal of the project, and any interactions that could impact the project’s delivery, in order to identify political problems. This could occur when new members join a project team or if a project sponsor is changed. Every situation is unique so what might be a problem in one case might not be the same for another.
Our approach to project politics is largely based on gut feeling. There is a lot of theory in the book. What was the most useful piece of theory or concept that you found during your research? How can it be applied to our daily lives every day?
It’s easy – Maslow’s theory of human motivation. This theory is simple, and can help you see different points of view. This theory can help you think about how different levers could affect the behavior of individuals such as a need to validate, security, creativity, etc.
This is because it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that regardless of your interpretation of a situation, or your motivations, this will be applicable to everyone. It can be difficult to see things from another person’s point of view and come up with different conclusions than you do. Understanding that people have different motivations makes it easier to recognize and comprehend different behaviors.
It sounds like it requires an ability to see political situations objectively. What are your experiences working with project managers who are most skilled at dealing with politics?
People who are most successful can maintain their calm and composure even in difficult political situations. They can also assess the motivations of others and ensure that their interactions with them do not hinder their ability for cooperation. This is key to building lasting relationships and teamwork that can help you deal with difficult situations.
Everyone wants to be that person who is calm and steady. What are your top three tips to project managers who have had to deal with office politics in the past?
Recognize your motivations for working with others and your ability to influence them.