The “Yes, but” explanation

Communicating the current status correctly to the stakeholders is one of the primary responsibilities while managing projects. Striking the right balance is key in ensuring the audience has accurate information and apprised of how the tasks with deliverables in the near future are shaping up. Getting timely updates from people working on the projects is critical in getting it right. Due to the dependency involved it can get tricky at times. For example if a task is complete and there is confirmation awaited about the completion of associated documentation it could mean that the task+documentation are complete and just confirmation is pending or task is complete but the documentation is being worked on. With work potentially being done by a team member in a different part of the world makes it difficult to confirm in real time. That’s when the “Yes, but” explanation comes into picture when presenting the current status. I guess this explanation sometimes creeps into personal life too. Wife must have heard my “Yes, but” line a few times. So, when she asks something like “Raj, can you take some days off when our son is home for his holidays” and I offer “Yes, but it depends on a Production Go Live implementation date/s staying as currently planned OR Yes, but only if there are no project deliverables due” her immediate reaction is “Now you are speaking like a PM” 😀 Which is true 🙂

I see Dr Fauci and other doctors in a similar situation when asked about novel coronavirus, in a much larger context of course. “Dr X, is the curve flattening as expected and can people return to life as normal?” and they have to tread a fine line with explanation like “Yes (for the curve flattening), but the trend has to continue for a bit longer for people to be able to go out and do what they would during normal times”. The need to be positive and truthful and at the same time balancing it with words of caution.

Author: Rajaram 'Raj' Gopalan

Hi All, Welcome to my home in cyberspace! You can call me Raj. Feel free to explore, discuss, comment and most importantly have a good time!

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