Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

How fine is that line between being a true team builder, a true empowerment expert, and a brilliant leader and finding yourself with never-ending differences of opinions and suddenly stagnant progress? Very fine, and you have to walk it!

As a younger PM I have naively found myself just rambling away at the mouth or asking everyone I can think of for input before realizing that, occasionally an issue is better off without additional input. Now I have involved folks who I cannot uninvolved without officially offending them and their involvement does not help our progress.

Some points to ponder:

–          Find an Advisor – secure that trusted member of the team with the most wisdom and the greatest amount of humility. Someone who will shoot you straight with quality input but doesn’t care if you don’t heed it. They should serve as your thermometer before you say another word.

–          Establish your Role…Fairly – you need to make it clear with your team that while you require and value their input, any impacts to scope schedule budget will fall within your purview. If you respect their decisions, you can ask them to reciprocate. If you must overrule, you must have justification.

–          Document and Proceed – assemble your core team members, discuss the issues, and make a decision. Document the justification and move on. More often, you will have greater benefits from a timely decision than perhaps a more thoroughly deliberated one.

Also, don’t be that guy! Don’t be too proud to be overruled yourself (establishes fairness and ultimately respect) and don’t be that extra cook (if you have that morbid curiosity and must attend the meeting to ‘observe’… never undermine the leader with your unsolicited opinions)

It is a fine line and once you go out on a limb and get burned, it is doubly hard to walk it. Don’t be paralyzed by your bad experiences and don’t let the extra cooks paralyze your project. Go for it!


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