How Do Some Project Managers Get This Far?

Some Project Managers have never learned the people aspects of project managementShe promised the client new functionality in their new system without checking with her team first. And she didn’t adjust the project completion deadline.

She required excessive overtime from the entire project team. At one point, staff were catching naps in the break room so that they could keep going around the clock in the mistaken hope that the extra hours would help them meet the schedule.

She berated me for remaining at the client’s project site rather than flying to our main office for our regular monthly all-hands meeting. It didn’t matter that I had stayed back to finalize a paid deliverable (on time and under budget, mind you). In her controlling manner, she insisted that all her staff from all her projects be at the monthly “wine and cheese” to catch-up and socialize with each other.

She added staff to a project to reduce the project’s overrun. I soon discovered that the added staff was charged to my project. True, both projects were in her book of business. But in doing so, my project, which was showing excess profit, was now barely breaking even, while the failing project was performing within acceptable margins.

She showed clear favoritism on every project for which she was responsible.

She would not be outdone by her peers. She contracted with a new client to develop a proof-of-concept for a new system. One of her fellow executives had contracted for a similar proof-of-concept, and his project was nearing completion. Rather than join forces with her fellow executive to develop a common solution that would break new ground for both clients, she elected to compete (and waste valuable resources).

I could go on. She was one of the most difficult managers I have ever worked for. Others who worked on her projects echoed this sentiment. On the personal side, however, outside of the office and away from work she was fun to be around, hospitable, gracious, and generous.

But from a career perspective, I will never get those years back.

As illustrated here, when it comes to directing and managing project work not all managers are equally capable. Many, like this project executive, never took time out of their busy schedules to learn the people aspects of project management.

For a deeper look at how Project Managers can develop the people aspects of their ability to direct and manage project work, refer my previous articles on this subject: “This is Where Project Managers Fall Short in Managing Project Work” and “This is How Project Managers Excel as Leaders.”

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