Poor Project Management

Real-life examples about poor project management

The Right and Wrong Uses of a Plan on a Page

There is a common tendency in business nowadays for project managers to produce a “plan on a page”. This document is often created as one PowerPoint slide. It provides, at a glance, an overview of the key activities of the project, the overall timescale, and sometimes a very high level view of the dependency between key activities. In this article I would like to share my view on how this kind of plan should be used. I hope you will all agree with me.

Examples of Poor Project Management - Mistaking E-mail for Communication

One of the mistakes I have encountered reasonably often in projects is with people (both managers and resources) mistaking e-mail for actual communication. After sending an e-mail, people assume many things, including that: it is read in a timely fashion, the message is understood by the receiver(s), it is enough to generate the action/result desired by the sender. Unfortunately this is rarely the case and overusing e-mail instead of more effective communication mediums (face to face, video-conference, phone or chat), easily generates problems in projects: people not taking action on time, people completing wrong or incomplete deliverables, messages being forwarded to the wrong audience and generating conflicts, etc. In this article I would like to cover why people tend to overuse e-mail, the problems encountered with this communication medium and how to figure out by yourself when you should not use e-mail but a more effective communication medium.

Examples of Poor Project Management - Planning Without Creating a Work Breakdown Structure

I would like to continue our series of articles on Examples of Poor Project Management with an article about something apparently trivial - the creation of Work Breakdown Structures during the planning activities of a project. Even though it seems to be a no-brainer, at least to an experienced project manager, I’m always surprised to see how many of my peers simply ignore this tool. Even most (if not all) project management literature praises the usefulness of this tool, as a critical input to Project Scheduling, this tool is not as used as it should be. This article will try to explore the reasons why this happens and the main negative outcomes of such practice.

Examples of Poor Project Management - Introducing an Intermediary between the Project Manager and the Client

I will continue our series on Examples of Poor Project Management with a scenario from some of the projects ran by multi-national companies, with geographically distributed teams: having a project team member act as the intermediary between the project manager and the client of the project. I’m not saying that this is always a bad idea but unfortunately, more often than not, I have seen projects fail to some degree due to having such a project setup. In this article I will explore the reasons why projects can have such intermediary roles and how this can lead to negative results. After reading this article, please share your experience on this subject.

Examples of Poor Project Management - Overusing Positive Words

Have you ever encountered project managers or peers, abusing positive words such as: brilliant, great, super or even awesome? Unfortunately I did encounter them in quite a number of occasions. Also, at some point in my project management career, I was guilty of overusing such words for a period of time. Once I managed to internalize the effect this behavior had on the effectiveness of the project and the project team, I stopped and changed my approach. In this article I would like to discuss why project managers overuse positive words, the negative effects of this behavior and what we could do to identify whether we have this weakness in our project management approach.

Examples of Poor Project Management - Not Seeing the Woods for the Trees

In this article I explore one of the most common reasons for poor project management. Writing the article was prompted by a short piece of consultancy I recently did. I was asked to help a client sort out some trouble with one of their projects. We all know that projects can go wrong for many reasons. In this case it did not take long to work out the cause of their difficulties. The objectives and the scope of the project were unclear. Without clear objectives and with an ambiguously defined scope, trouble is bound to occur. Let’s look at why this can happen.

Examples of Poor Project Management - How Not to Involve Your Project Board & Stakeholders

Recently I've had the interesting experience of being in the project team, but not being the project manager. After gathering a few years of experience in playing the project management role, it was very interesting to simply observe how others do project management. I had the chance to learn a lot, mostly from examples of poor project management. Therefore I managed to understand even better the results of our study on the image of the project management profession and why people sometimes do not like working with project managers. In the next few weeks I will try to share my learning in short lessons, covering the things I've noticed as poor project management practice. In this first episode, I will share an example of how not to involve your project board and stakeholders.


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