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Submitted by jrumple on


A few weeks ago I took over a small project team. We’re a matrix organization and one of the three individuals on my team requested not to attend the One-on-Ones through his manager. I followed the recommendations in the podcast and finally agreed that he was not required to meet with me.

Now I’m struggling to stay informed on the work he is performing and charging to my project. How do I readdress the concept of the PM One-on-Ones or are there other things I can try?

All three of the team members are assigned to my project part time and other projects part time. I found it ironic that our relationship was so bad that instead of coming to me, he ran to his manager and the whole purpose of the One-on-One was to build a better relationship.

I talked with his manager, and after about 10 minutes discussing it with her, she wasn’t convinced this was a good use of his time. He is assigned to my project ¼ time, which is 10 hours, which means that our 30 minutes is 1/20th of the time he spends each week working on my project.

My relationship with the other two individuals is great. They are actually ahead of schedule on the tasks I’ve assigned to them and it looks like we will be able to deliver our product to the customer early. Since things are working so well with the rest of the team, I would like to try to reengage this third member. What recommendations are out there for things I can do to start building a better relationship with him?


Colorado Springs
DiSC Profile: 7117

tomjedrz's picture
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Surely, the evidence is clear that the O3s improve effectiveness. You need to get them going with the weak link.

You need to have a conversation with the manager that goes something like this ...

"I am out of touch with "team-member". This interferes with my effectiveness, and to the effectiveness of the project team. Communication is part of our job, and it isn't getting done. I want 30 minutes of my 10 hours each week to be devoted to communication.  If this is not OK with you, what are **YOU** going to do to insure that I have get the information I need to run this project?"

I would **NOT** mention how it is working well for the other guys. Make the conversation about how you aren't getting the information you need.

You didn't mention how people are assigned to teams, or how performance on projects is evaluated by the organization. I would review carefully the time charged by this fellow to your project, and if it is excessive relative to accomplishment, bring it up.    

Finally, make sure that you are communicating to **your** manager what issues you are having and what you are doing about them. If necessary, ask for help getting compliance from the laggard.

asteriskrntt1's picture


What other mechanisms do you use for managing the projects?  Also, you don't have to make it a "formal" one on one... just find a way to meet with this person and do your thing. 

As the PMgr, you have an obligation to stay on top of things.  As a project performer, the person has an obligation to get you what you need when you need it. 

As for the other manager, she has an obligation for her people to perform and meet their deliverables or she looks bad.  What do you think her Disc profile is?  You definitely need to use that in communicating with her.




jrumple's picture
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Thanks for the inputs.

In the time since I posted this things have gotten a little better. I went ahead and scheduled time on my calendar as a one-on-one. At that time I walk to his desk and ask him for a status update. Of course he is happy to share how things are going. We usually talk for 15 to 30 minutes. I do feel like things are progressing faster than if I did what the other team leads around me do, which is wait for something to be due or fall behind and then it's a crisis to fix. He is a quarter time on my project and three quarters time on another project. The other project is dominating his attention. While he isn't spending the full ten hours a week on my project, I'm confident he wouldn't be spending any time on it if I didn't stop by weekly to check on things.

I can hear the echos of some recent podcast episodes where Mark and Mike are discussing Managerial Economics. My biggest struggle is that I'm the lowest paid employee on the project. I'm managing the work of two others who are paid more than I am. Still I'm in charge and have been delegating tasks to them and reporting the team's progress to the project manager.

I reviewed this situation this week and decided to keep my current approach for another month. At the end of that time when I have our scheduled time, I'm going to reflect that we seem to spend 15-30 minutes a week talking about status anyway. It always seems to interrupt something he is working on. Maybe if we put it on the calendar and he can plan around it I won't continue to interrupt his other work.

This approach is slower than I would like, probably because I'm a High D/High C. However also this week I got my interim assessment from my manager. In my "Areas for Development or Improvement" were "Continue to develop his people skills by toning down his assertiveness with others" and "Deal diplomatically and tactful with people to building effective relationships." (Note: My manager is his manager, so I don't think I'll be able to readress my conerns with her. I'm hoping I can reason with him that I'm not asking for more time, just to schedule the time we're already spending so I'm not interrupting his other work.)

Colorado Springs