This blog is all about making sure you are getting the most accurate information. You need accurate information to make sure you are able to track project progress, keep stakeholders updated and make important decisions. Without accurate information you are increasing the chances of making wrong decisions, giving inaccurate progress reports and totally misreading stakeholder expectations. All of these contribute to project failure.
The types of information you are going to want to obtain are both formal metrics for project progress, opinions from experts and stakeholders, contractual agreements, and also information communications such as gossip, rumour and individual opinion. Staying in touch with the communications that surround a project is an essential skill for a project manager as you must learn to control the communications that are circulating. The best way to do this is with accurate information. If you use second hand information you run the risk of it being inaccurate and looking like a fool. Additionally, if you are caught using inaccurate information then it takes people a while to trust you as a source of information again.
The best way to get accurate information is straight from the source. If you rely on second hand sources you are running the risk of information being passed on that is affected by all sorts of potential problems such as natural biases, different communication and listening styles and political drivers. Always go straight to the source of the information and get if first hand. If you aren’t getting it straight from the horse’s mouth then you must be getting it from the other end and we know how reliable that can be.
I heard an urban myth once that there is a culture somewhere in the world that requires any information to given in conversation to be followed by where exactly the information source was (if you too read this and can remember the course please let me know). I love this idea and its one that I’ve tried to implement myself.
Let me know your strategies for making sure you have accurate information.
P.S. did you understand the phrase “straight from the horses mouth”?