How to deliver bad news 2/13/2019

Give to a gracious message a host of tongues,
but let ill tidings tell themselves when they be felt.
- "Antony and Cleopatra", Shakespeare

Projects, even the best planned ones, rarely go smoothly, this means that from time-to-time, we have to deliver bad news. Here are some techniques to do so directly but with diplomacy:

  1. As you know the integration to the ___ system has not gone well, it looks as though it will take and additional ____ days unless we can overcome the ____ issue.
  2. Working with ______ has been challenging, their _______ has resulted in _____. We suggest that the following changes be made ______.
  3. Our team member ____ needs to transition off the project. To minimize the impact of this we are offering the following transition plan _______.
  4. As you know the recent _____ incident has been challenging to the project team, to adjust we propose _____.
  5. As you know the project plan called for team ____ to have the ____ system done for integration on ____. They were unable to hit their date and this has caused the schedule to be in jeopardy, to accommodate we need to do a change order in the amount of $_____ and reset the delivery date by _____ days.
  6. We were wondering, when the team last saw the project equipment, was it still on fire?
  7. As you know stakeholder ______ has asked for additional scope of _____, which has an estimated effort of ____ hours. To accommodate it in the project plan we can either (a) remove a requirement of equal size or (b) do a change order to cover the additional effort, or (c) agree to schedule the additional scope in a future release. What should we do?

The keys are

  1. be direct,
  2. be polite,
  3. if possible give alternatives, if not give guidance.

Blog ID: 2019 Blog_636856877977167196

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