by Vijay K. Verma (PMI Fellow, PMP, MBA, P. Eng.)
Today’s business environment is characterized by global competition, rapidly changing technology, and a limited human resource pool with the proper skill mix. Now more than ever, project management is critical to an organizations’ survival; balancing the constantly shifting business landscape to execute strategies and transform goals into reality. At its core, power and politics are critical factors in determining the success of a projects but they are rarely, if ever, discussed in depth in project management literature. Internal politics permeate all levels within an organization and should be taken into consideration when navigating any project.
Whether you want it or not, politics exist in every organization and are an important part of project management environments because projects are done by people with different viewpoints, expectations, interests, and personalities. People are the ones who make things happen or prevent them from happening.
The existence of politics within any given project can be labeled as either positive or negative. Negative emphasizes “I”, whereas positive emphasizes “we”. Although politics cannot be eliminated entirely, efforts should be made to minimizing negative politics with through the implementation of positive ones. Focusing on personal agendas, finger pointing, and favoritism are all prime example of negative politics. On the other hand, positive politics focus on the team as a whole - redirecting the energy of people involved to create a culture of more collaboration, synergy, and commitment. It is unfortunate that positive politics are less understood, and that many managers at various levels view them with suspicion and uncertainty.
The Art of Positive Politics is a new book by author Vijay K. Verma that sheds light on organizational politics and provides guidelines to manage them at all levels to deliver successful projects. The book will enable readers to understand: positive and negative politics, the Ten Commandments to powerfully minimize the impact of negative politics, ways to analyze the landscape to identify a stakeholder’s political positions, understanding and managing political behaviors, and managing politics at the upper management and project levels.
Vijay K. Verma is an internationally renowned speaker and author. He wrote a three-volume series on the Human Aspects of Project Management published by the Project Management Institute (PMI): Organizing Projects for Success, Human Resource Skills for the Project Manager, and Managing the Project Team. In 2009 Mr. Verma was awarded the PMI Fellow Award and prior to that, the 1999 PMI David I. Cleland Project Management Literature Award (for his book Managing the Project Team), and the 1999 PMI Distinguished Contribution Award for sustained and significant contributions to the project management profession.