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Consensus Building Techniques

“Building a bridge between different positions can be easier with the assistance of a facilitator, especially when peer-to-peer relationships are involved. The project rescue manager is the obvious choice in terms of identifying and facilitating the resolution of weaknesses in the other relationships on the project. Individuals could take the initiative and resolve their own differences. This requires mutual consideration and can be successful on enlightened teams.”

“The temporary culture and negativity on a troubled project, though, make it difficult for this to happen. Using a facilitator is the preferred strategy for the rescue. Producing a list of lessons learned to guide future initiatives is also a goal here. The executive sponsor can champion relationship improvements between the rescue manager and other stakeholders and senior members of the project team.”

“There are several techniques that can bridge differences. Any approach involves a certain amount of ‘give and take’ to arrive at the right drivers. These techniques are best used in combination with each other, in the following order:

  • Reason This is an appeal to the professional motivations that drive team members. It is reasonable to resolve the conflicts for the organization’s sake.
  • The carrot Reason alone will only get you so far. The argument offered here is that a successful project rescue will help the organization and the result will be realization of the incentives put on the table.
  • The stick This is an implicit part of every strategy. A lack of success in the rescue will mean some type of natural negative consequences. Penalties could also be involved, but this will have negative long-term consequences if they are seen as being retaliatory and unfair. For example, team members, team members may accept that there will be a loss of revenue and hence no bonuses. However, if people are going to be fired despite their best efforts, the result may be temporary hard work but a loss of loyalty and potentially a lack of quality. Employees will also leave the organization at the first opportunity.”

Consensus Building is one of the techniques used in the Human Resource Management processes described in the PMBOK. Becoming a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®) let's customers, clients, and employers know that you've been grounded in these and other project management best practices. To learn more about the certification process visit that section of our website at: PMP® Certification