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WBC Articles and Publications

Contributor to book:
“Risk Management, Tricks of the Trade for Project Managers”
-By Rita Mulcahy

First Published in Info & Ideas Online Magazine

Unraveling the Mystery: Shielding your project from hidden agendas

By Paul Webb

Hidden agendas, or undisclosed motives, can have a detrimental impact on a project. When team members are not transparent about their intentions, it can lead to mistrust and confusion among the group. This can cause delays and miscommunication, which can ultimately lead to a project’s failure. Hidden agendas can also create an atmosphere of competition and self-interest, where individuals prioritize their personal goals over the success of the project. This can result in a lack of collaboration and teamwork. Overall, hidden agendas can create a toxic environment that undermines the project’s success and can damage team morale and relationships.
Shielding your project from hidden agendas requires a combination of proactive measures and ongoing vigilance. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Establish Clear Goals and Objectives
One of the primary ways to protect your project from people with hidden agendas is to establish clear and well-defined goals and objectives from the outset. Be sure to communicate these goals clearly to all stakeholders, including executives, sponsors, and team members. Having a clearly defined project scope can help prevent hidden agendas from derailing your project by providing a framework for decision-making and prioritization.

2. Encourage open communication
Regular and transparent communication is essential to keeping all stakeholders informed and on the same page. Make sure to hold regular status meetings with executives and sponsors and provide frequent progress updates to keep everyone informed of the project’s status. Be sure to highlight any potential risks or issues that may arise and provide recommendations on how to mitigate these risks.

3. Establish clear processes
By establishing clear processes for decision making, you can help prevent hidden agendas from influencing the outcome. This entails setting up clear criteria for evaluating options, ensure that all relevant information is considered, and making decisions transparently.

4. Monitor for signs of hidden agendas
It’s important to be vigilant for signs of hidden agendas throughout the project. This means watching for inconsistencies or conflicts of interest, observing how decisions are made, and being aware of any attempts to manipulate or control the project. By staying alert and proactive, you can help to ensure that your project stays on track.

5. Seek Outside Support
If you suspect that hidden agendas are threatening your project’s success, seek outside support from a neutral third-party. This could be a consultant, advisor, or project management professional who can help you navigate the situation and provide guidance on how to move forward.

Shielding your project from hidden agendas is crucial to ensure its success and integrity. By taking steps to prevent hidden agendas from taking hold, you can help to ensure that your project stays on track and achieves its goals.