Thursday, July 19, 2012

Signs You Need A New Project Manager

As project managers try to maximize their impact with fewer resources, the focus on developing leaders and leadership have become a much discussed topic.  Either having the wrong leadership or someone who is lacking project management skills can be a detriment to any organization and can effect everything from team morale, to skill development, project completion and even the track of someone's career.  

How do you know you need a new project manager?  Here are some things to look for:

  • Your project manager is receiving complaints.  Clearly, no business runs without flaws, but when your project manager is accused of spending too much money, can't help your team meet their deadlines, is constantly blaming others for their lack of success, and doesn't seem to ever have access to enough resources, there is a problem.  No project manager should be constantly facing criticism.

  • Your project manager isn't a leader.  Leaders are charismatic people who cast a vision – or receive one from management – and get it done by passing that vision on to their team.  If your project manager seems overwhelmed by the details of the day and unable to see the “bigger picture” then your team may need someone with stronger management and communication skills.

  • The scope of the project is either too big, too small or too confusing.  Defining the scope of a project is one of the ways that your project manager can set you up for success. . . or failure. When the scope of a project is too big, achieving it becomes impossible; when it is too small it causes boredom among team members.  The worst situation is when there is no scope at all.  In that case, confusion abounds, causing frustration and resentment on the team.  Defining the scope is up to the project manager.

  • Stakeholders are not engaged.  When a project manager moves forward on an initiative without considering the people that are affected, that can be a catastrophic problem.  Over time, changes made before all parties are consulted can end up not addressing the needed changes and pushing people and processes off task.  Stakeholders can range from management above or lateral to the project manager, as well as customers, team members or even other teams who either funnel work to your team or receive it.  No matter which stakeholders are involved in the process, it is a critical mistake to work in a vacuum, one that can destroy the affinity of a team and their ability to work effectively.

There are many reasons that a project manager might need to be replaced.  Whether the project manager is unable to deal with basic issues and is receiving complaints, lack leadership skills, have ignored stakeholders or whether they are unable to correctly define the scope of the project, they may need to be replaced by someone who has more experience and qualifications. 

Ryan Sauer is a writer and editor for Bisk Education in association with University Alliance. He actively writes about project management in different industries and strives to help professionals succeed in getting their projectmanagement certification. Through the University Alliance, Ryan writes to help enable professionals obtain their PMP certification online.

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