Ten Guaranteed Ways
to Screw Up Any Project
A web-published article by Michael Greer
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bother prioritizing your organization's overall project load.
After all, if there’s a free-for-all approach to your overall program
management (i.e., “survival of the fittest”), then the projects that
survive will be those that were destined to survive. In the meantime, senior
management need not trouble themselves aligning projects with strategic
goals or facing the logical imperative that people simply cannot have 12
number one priorities!
sponsors and key stakeholders to take a passive role on the project team.
Let them assert their authority to reject deliverables at random, without
participating in defining project outcomes in a high-resolution fashion. And
above all, don’t bother project sponsors when their constituents (such as
key SMEs and reviewers) drop the ball and miss their deadlines.
up ongoing committees focusing on management process
(such as TQM groups, etc.) and make project team members participate in
frequent meetings and write lots of reports… preferably when critical
project deadlines are coming due.
team members relentlessly
… preferably during their time off. Find all sorts of trivial issues that
"need to be addressed," then keep their beepers and cell phones
ringing and bury them in emails to keep them off balance.
a culture in which project managers are expected to “roll over” and take
it when substantive new deliverables are added
halfway through the project. (After all, only a tradesperson like a plumber
or electrician would demand more money or more time for additional services;
our people are “professionals” and should be prepared to be
way through the project,
when most of the deliverables have begun to take shape, add a whole
bunch of previously unnamed stakeholders and ask them for their
opinions about the project and its deliverables.
the sponsor to approve deliverables informally (with nods, smiles, and
verbal praise); never force sponsors to stand behind their approvals
with a formal sign-off. (In other words, give ‘em plenty of room
to weasel out of agreements!)
sure project managers have lots of responsibilities and deadlines, but no
to acquire or remove people from the project; to get enough money,
materials, or facilities; or insist on timely participation of SMEs and key
project deliverables in the vaguest possible terms
so sponsors and reviewers have plenty of leeway to reinvent the project
outputs repeatedly as the project unfolds.
- Get projects
up and running as quickly as possible – don’t
worry about documenting agreements in a formal project charter, clearly
describing team roles/responsibilities, or doing a thorough work breakdown
analysis. After all, we know what we’re doing and we trust each other. So
let’s get to it without a pesky audit trail!
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