Project Lessons from HBO and Silicon Valley

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The HBO hit series, Silicon Valley, is nearing the end of another great year. If you have not had a chance to watch, do not worry; there are no spoilers ahead. If you are unfamiliar with the show, it is an entertaining story about a quirky group of developers with a great software idea; and we follow their journey through funding, development, and marketing, while dealing with a multitude of project challenges, pitfalls, and successes. Season three begins with a true project leadership challenge; how to get the project team to buy-in and move in the same direction with a shared vision.

While in the show, there is a power struggle that becomes the catalyst to the project team continuously shifting their project’s direction; it had me reflecting on my project experience and a few simple steps I’ve learned to create team alignment and project buy-in:

First, a Project Leader must clearly identify and communicate of the project vision, requirements and scope, and present a solid justification of “why” the project is being commissioned.

Second, the vision must be delivered consistently, to all stakeholders, so there is no misunderstanding of what is expected by the completion of the project.

Third, gain mutual trust by keeping an open dialogue, and truly take time to listen to your team’s feedback and be receptive to their ideas.

Sharing project goals and objectives will increase team member’s interest in the project and help to build momentum. The consistency of the message solidifies the team understands the project expectations. Having an open dialogue ensures that the team understands the vision and aids in building team trust.

It is never too late to utilize these steps in a project. If your team is struggling with buy-in, take the time today to reset the project with these simple steps!

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