There are some basic rules that govern good project management. You have a plan, sponsors, milestones and outcomes. So there should be no issues so far.
What is tricky though is bringing various people onto your project at different stages as the project is developing. We had this exact issue at work about a month ago. A project and team had been formed and was well on it's way working towards it's goal.
The issue was that a meeting was called whereby people outside of the project team were asked to share their opinion and their voice on what was happening. This was the issue - the new people weren't told where the project had gotten to at that stage.
So at the meeting of the two teams (new and old) the old team assumed the new team knew what was required of them, where the project had progressed to and would offer either constructive criticism or just totally agree with what had been done so far.
What we as the new team members did do was assume the following -
- the project was new
- therefore there were no boundaries
- whatever we contributed would be valued and properly considered
The reality was this -
- the project was already well under way
- momentum had reached it's peak
- therefore what we said had little to no impact on the outcomes of the project.
So - if you are running a project you need to be clear when communicating to people along the way that you get involved with your project about the following -
- how long has the project been in existence
- how can those people assist the project
- what expectations do you have of the new members as far as their contribution.
By following these basic points of communication you too can make sure that when people are giving up their time to help you then everyone is clear of just what exactly it is that they are meant to be doing.