Why I’d rather you go play in the traffic: 3 levels of trust in a project environment.

Why I’d rather you go play in the traffic: 3 levels of trust in a project environment.

Why I’d rather you go play in the traffic. from Papercut Project Monitoring on Vimeo.

(This video is also available in slideshow view with slide notes for anyone who wants it, at http://bit.ly/8c7kkN. I’ve deliberately kept my branding off all but the last page for anyone who may like to download it and show at their own meetings. Just tear it off and enjoy. Video length—14:52.)

Project best practices have all kinds of advice on making sure things stay on track. The body of knowledge is chock full of recommendations including getting your stakeholders involved early and often. They suggest you use clear language, which is certainly important if you want everyone on your team to understand what’s going on.

They recommend you delineate clear roles and responsibilities so everyone is clear on their job, and establish measurements so you get the behaviours you want during execution.

What they’re not so clear on are things like, how do you get people to work together when they have different working styles? Some folks need a sense of direction and hand holding, others want to be left alone. People with academic backgrounds are not going to understand business people and vice versa. Some people don’t really care about your processes and would rather you just let them do their jobs the way they know how.

Both people and groups can come together with conflicting wants and needs, and sometimes competing agendas like when you put two vendors together on the same project.

And then there’s the things nobody wants to admit to. Shame, fear, guilt, embarrassment, a sense of inadequacy or incompetence…these are things that we all feel as people, but wouldn’t dream of divulging for fear of the perception it would create.

There’s lots of other things that happen when people interact that there aren’t many best practices for, and they all have one thing in common.


I’m a professor of project management at the college where I work. My students continually amaze me with their insights, passion and all-around awesomeness. I figure they deserve access to more answers than I can give them by myself. This site is for them.