Every PM strives to provide the executive team with useful data. Unfortunately, it isn’t always clear what kind of information an organization’s leadership group wants. Some executives have expressed an interest in being involved at each stage of a project’s lifecycle, while others prefer to be updated on the highlights and leave the details to someone else.
It isn’t uncommon to encounter challenges during a project. Teams may lose a key member, putting additional work on everyone else, or a critical material might suddenly become unavailable. These problems are relatively routine and most PMs have the experience and resources to deal with the issues without derailing their project’s progress.
Many projects involve sensitive information. Sometimes organizations are changing how they will compete in the marketplace—a project to retool a manufacturing line, for example. If that data was leaked externally before the project was complete, it could compromise the company’s position. Other initiatives involve staffing changes, such as when operations are relocated from one facility to another. Projects that impact employees often contain data that should be shielded from internal disclosure until the appropriate time.
Unfortunately, the need to protect sensitive information can sometimes hinder a project’s forward momentum. For executives and project managers trying to navigate these waters, knowing what to do when the need to maintain confidentiality threatens a project’s progress is crucial if they want to drive their initiatives to a successful completion.
Identify who already has access to sensitive data. One sure way to derail forward movement on an important project is to curtail information sharing unnecessarily. Because some people, either internal or external, probably already possess a subset of the confidential data your team is using, you can avoid some of the most common problems by knowing who has approval to access sensitive information. That knowledge will enable you to keep communications flowing without risking an unauthorized disclosure.