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Nita MartinPolitics. Every project has politics. Today, I interview Dr Nita Martin (Managing Director of Pure Indigo). Project Politics: A Systematic Approach for Managing Complex Relationships by Nita Martin, is Nita’s book. It deals with the difficult topic of how projects are managed.
Nita, “politics” can mean different things to different people. What is project politics?
Project politics is a common phrase used to describe projects. This is the process by which people make decisions for the governance of an organization’s internal and externe affairs.
Every organisation has office politics. Are you more concerned about projects than with business as usual?
This comparison is difficult because it depends on the nature of the project as well as the normal business environment. My experience is that business as usual is usually stable, with only minor changes to the working environment. Because of the uniqueness and intensity that projects bring, it can feel like there is more to politics. People can find themselves in an unfamiliar working environment because they are often thrown together.
This makes sense. This unique environment can also bring up problems that might not be apparent in another environment. What should we be watching out for?
Project problems do not always arise from political situations. To identify problematic political issues, it is important to keep an eye on the overall goal of the project and any interactions that could affect the project’s delivery. This could happen when new members join a team or if the project sponsor is changed. Every situation is different so what might be a problem for one project may not apply to another.
A lot of our approach to project politics seems to be based upon gut feeling. The book covers a lot of theory. What was the most useful piece or theory that you discovered during your research? How can we apply it to our daily lives?
It’s simple – Maslow’s theory on human motivation. This theory is simple and can help you understand different points of view. This theory allows you to think about how different levers could influence the behavior of individuals, such as a need for validation, security, creativity, and so forth.
This is because it is easy to get caught up in the trap of believing that no matter what your interpretation of a situation or motivation is, this will apply to all. It is hard to see situations from another person’s perspective and come up with a different conclusion than you do for yourself. Understanding that people have different motivations and different needs makes it easier to recognize and understand different behaviors.
It sounds like it requires the ability to look at political situations objectively. What are your experiences with project managers who are most adept at dealing with politics?
The most successful people are able to maintain calm and composure in difficult political situations. They are also able to assess the motivations of others, and ensure that they interact with others in a way that does not hinder their ability to work together. This is a key to building long-lasting relationships and teamwork, which can make it easier to deal with political situations.
Everyone wants to be that person, the one who is calm and steady. What are your top three tips for project managers who have to deal with office politics?
Recognize your motivations and ability for working with and influencing others.
Recognize the

Interview with Nita Martin about Project Politics