The language of projects
Published: 15 December 2014
GUEST EDITORIAL: Jonathan Norman introduces a series of five articles on the theme The language of projects, which explore how our use of language can help or hamper the delivery of projects.
Guest Editor: Jonathan Norman
Projects seem to have their own arcane language and their own set of jargon and acronyms; even activities within projects themselves such as bidding, contracting, managing risk generate their own technical phrases and vocabulary.
Consequently, understanding the nature or health of a project is often far from an intuitive activity. This is a very unfortunate state of affairs because language – or rather human dialogue – is the primary means by which we express ideas and expectations, strategies and requirements and by which we negotiate compromise and make sense of the new or the uncertain.
There are five guest editorial articles that explore the theme of The language of projects:
Big pictures and little stories looks at the vision behind projects and the storytelling skills that can relate this vision to everyone involved.
Developing a new vocabulary of risk explains how to listen to your head and your heart at the same time and to combine your gut feel with your reason when it comes to taking risk.
Talking your way out of complexity illustrates how the simple act of human dialogue can lead to experience which can prepare you for the unexpected.
Talking the language of stakeholders shows you how to empathize with your stakeholders and communicate with them in ways, at times and with methods that play to their preferences.
Changing the way we talk about strategy highlights some of the most common problems associated with the language of strategy as a warning to the incautious.
Each of these editorial pieces will be posted at weekly intervals, until the collection of five is complete.
For the beta version of this site, each of the five editorial pieces is accompanied by a playlist of content drawn from GpmFirst; chapters from different Gower books and in a couple of cases short videos that play to the theme of the editorial and offer you further ideas and insight. Once the site is live we will be adding other Guest Editorial Series, similar to this one but accompanied by playlists of new original content in written or other form, as well as occasional chapters from Gower books.
I hope that you enjoy the Guest Editorial. If you would like to provide feedback or suggest new subjects for Guest Editorial features, then please just use the ‘Comments’ box below each piece to add your commentary.