Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sept 17, 2007 – Project Management Warnings Part 3

Alright, we get it. Project management is dangerous work and should be handled with caution. But sometimes it isn’t the project that is the problem, it’s the people. Some stakeholders and resources can cause more problems than any technical issues you will ever encounter. For that reason I suggest that they should be required to wear their own signs. Here are some you might need to hand out during your next meeting.

1. May cause irritation. I had a manager once that was mildly irritating. The technical team knew what we were doing and handled pretty much everything. He basically attended the client meetings and took all the credit. On the extremely irritating side is the stakeholder that decides to bring down your project. Both mild and extreme cases can be handled with patience. If he is irritating to you, he is probably irritating to others. Don’t try to bring him down yourself. Once he irritates the wrong person his days will be shortened. The odd thing is they always seem surprised with it hits.

2. Avoid contact with eyes. Once she has your attention you are likely tied up for an hour before she lets you go. Sometimes it is work related but other times it is just empty chatter. In the old days you needed an accomplice that could call you to break up the conversation. With the advent of the cell phone’s vibrate feature you can now fake a call at any time. If you as the project manager are the primary target of these conversations it may be that she is attempting to garner points toward promotion. On the other hand, if she is killing productivity on the project by talking with others all the time you may need to check her schedule and make sure she has plenty to do. If she isn’t getting her work done there are other consequences for that.

3. Beware of Dog. This is your basic “doesn’t play well with others” individual. He may be the best technical resource you have, but if he can’t work with anyone he is useless. Before you write him off completely, try:
· Interrogation. Find out what the real issues are and see if they can be resolved. Start with a simple conversation, “Hey, noticed you being a jerk the other day and just wanted to know what your basic problem was.” Ok, you may need to drop the jerk part…and then reword the rest of it, too.
· Intervention. Identify and document specific instances of bad behavior. Prior to the next blow up, walk through the reported problems with him and lay out the expectations going forward. Depending on the seriousness of the problems you may need to get HR involved.
· Isolation. If you don’t have a location to keep him away from others, try telecommuting.

There are plenty of other signs that could be awarded. If these three triggered some in your mind, drop me a comment and share your experience. I may need to run another edition at a later date.

1 comment:

Luce said...

I like the September 17 article. Thank you for giving me your card at the conference last week so I could check out the blog. I'll stop back again.