Wednesday, October 23, 2013

6 Types of Bad Project Managers

Project management is integral to the business world - milestones, kickoff meetings, deliverables, stakeholders, and work plans constitute the everyday world of most managers, whether they are called "project managers" or not. Given the vast experience organizations have with project management, it's reasonable to wonder why all projects aren't completed on time, on scope, and under budget. The reality is that there are some project managers who simply aren’t cut out to manage a team.

In fact, according to Phil Simon of InformationWeek, there are certain types of project managers that aren’t doing their job successfully. Here are six types of PMs that you may have in your office:

The Yes-Man
Certain PMs fear conflict and agree to every demand that clients or senior management make. As a result, they are used to saying "yes." These PMs do not intentionally try to sabotage projects, but  yes-men simply want their clients to be satisfied. But by failing to confront those with different expectations, yes-men make promises that put projects in danger.

The Micromanager
Micromanagers want to understand each step in a process or the nature of a complex issue. However, on a project, the PM is not supposed to be the product expert. Depending on the timing, a PM might have to live with a high-level explanation of an issue. Should the micromanager need more detail, she should bring consultants to steering committee meetings or have them write status reports providing more specifics.

The Procrastinator
PMs who routinely fail to deliver are the worst of the bunch because they cause organizations to miss project deadlines and put both employees in untenable positions. The procrastinator often ducks clients and does not deliver promised results such as updated project plans, documentation or status updates. People are likely to lose faith in the consulting firm and its individual consultants.

The Know-It-All
Nobody can know everything about an enterprise application. Some PMs have the ability to answer questions about certain system-related issues. Although being able to speak intelligently about issues is hardly a liability, PMs who do not engage their teams at key points do a number of inimical things. For one, they can alienate their consulting teams and make team members less likely to broach issues with them in the future.

The Pollyanna
Some PMs new to projects with large scopes are ecstatic when the project makes any progress at all. Pollyannas tend to take a "glass is 10 percent full" approach to project management. Rather than realistically assess and deal with a project suffering from delays and budget overruns, Pollyannas focus on trying to make everyone feel good. In this sense, they are like yes-men. PMs need to be able to call a spade a spade and not worry about sugarcoating dire situations.

The Pessimist

Pessimists fail to appreciate the gains that a team has made in the face of considerable obstacles. Pessimists overemphasize what still needs to be done as opposed to what has been done. Many projects would benefit from healthy doses of skepticism and realism. Sometimes, it's necessary to put functionality on the chopping block, but consultants and employees tend to put in long hours on projects, especially during critical times. PMs who constantly criticize a team for that which it has not accomplished are likely to irritate everyone. 
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