Things We Hate as an IT Project Manager
Hate is a strong word. We try and teach our kids not to hate and we do everything we can to keep hate out of our daily lives and relationships with other people. However, in some instances “hate” does have its place and that’s what this article is about. There are certain things that I have encountered throughout my career as an IT Project Manager that I have come to loathe, abhor, detest, and outright hate! If this article comes across a little cynical or caustic than usual…I apologize. This is welling up from decades of being on the front line as an IT Project Manager. With no further ado, here are the Top 10 Things I HATE as an IT Project Manager…
1. That’s Not My Job
Here’s the scenario. Your project is going along just fine until you run into a bit of a resource issue. One of the key resources on your project has been out of the office for a couple of days due to being sick. The deliverable he is working on is running a bit behind. You know that this particular deliverable is on the critical path and you need to do something about it as the IT Project Manager.
You then remember that there’s another resource on the team that used to do the sick resource’s job. You approach this person and ask if they can help out. Not a big deal, just pitch in a bit and move the ball forward until the other team member gets back into the office. You are curtly met with “That’s not my job” and nothing else. You know that this person can do what you are asking them to do but they say that it’s not their job? Are you kidding me? Is that even still in people’s vocabulary to say that anymore?
2. Checking Phones During Meetings
Yes…today’s smart phones are very smart. But, they’re also very disruptive and distracting. The second thing that really gets on my nerves as an IT Project Manager is the number of people who coyly check their phones during meetings and don’t pay attention. They are texting, emailing, surfing the web and who knows what else on their Smart Phones.
You can tell who they are too. They have a wry little grin on their face as if they’re the only person who is in on this personal private little joke. They’re the ones with the look on their face that they’re so important and plugged in to everyone and everything else that it trumps the meeting they are attending in person!
3. Laptops at Meetings
This takes the Smart Phone distraction to another level. This is where people bring in their laptops to meetings that they need to be focusing on and go to work as if the conference table is an extension of their desk. Did we call this meeting for the purpose of having very smart and highly paid employees watch you check your email or complete a spreadsheet? I don’t think so. We called this meeting and invited you to it, in order to have your rapt attention and contributions. Please stop bringing laptops to meetings.
4. Being Late to Meetings
Since we are on the Meeting theme of things I hate as an IT Project Manager, here’s another one that drives me crazy. I take great measures to schedule meetings at a time that everyone can attend. I account for the time that it takes for people to get from one meeting to the next. I may even call you and ask you what the best time would be to work in with your schedule for a meeting that is coming up.
Despite these Herculean efforts at scheduling a meeting to work around your schedule…you still show up late! I’m not talking about every now and then kind of late. We all do that. Things come up, meetings run over and the best of plans get waylaid, but that’s “every now and then!” You‘re different. You’re 5-10 minutes late to EVERY meeting.
It’s not just mine. It’s EVERYONE’S meetings. You have such a high regard for yourself that you feel as if it’s OK to make up to a dozen people wait until it fits into YOUR schedule to show up.
The fifth thing that I hate as an IT Project Manager is when people overreact to the situation at hand. Let’s face it, things get off track every now and then on any project. The unexpected may occur, or it’s discovered that something may have to be redone, or started from scratch.
It’s not the end of the world and you are not up for an Academy Award. There’s no reason to throw your hands up in the air and act like the entire world is resting on your shoulders. Leave the Drama Class back in High School and act like a professional. Deal with the circumstance at hand, ask what you can do to help out and get things back on track, and just know that someone will do the same for you when you drop the ball in the not so distant future.
6. Not Giving Accurate Completion Status
How long can something be 98% done? I mean, seriously. There has only been 2% left to go on this particular deliverable for as long as it took to complete the original 98% of the deliverable. As an IT Project Manager, I may not know as much as you about the complexities and nuances of what you are working on, however, I can do some simple math. If a deliverable has been 98% complete for a ridiculous amount of time it means that either that deliverable is not being worked on or it has run into some technical difficulties. Shoot straight with me regarding completion status and we can work on getting things figured out together.
7. Not Giving Accurate Estimates
Some resources feel as if they can pull an estimate for how long something will take out of thin air. Or, they may feel as if every deliverable they are asked to work on will take the same amount of time for everything. I worked with a resource that whenever I asked how long something would take it was always the same answer…40 hours. Didn’t matter how large or how small, it was always going to take the same amount of time. This undoubtedly contributed to the problems we were experiencing in #6 above and just became no longer believable.
8. Blame Storming
This is the terrible activity that ensues when something goes wrong on a project and the first thing everyone does is to look for whom else to blame. This can be manifested in a quick, reactionary outburst to when the defect is first discovered (“she did it”) to carefully orchestrated sessions that include upper management and departments within the company lining up against each other to make sure blame is squarely affixed to someone else.
Rather than get caught up in this type of mentality, you need to fix the problem first and then objectively and with the right motive, find out why it happened. Plus, if you were the cause of the problem then you need to stand up and own it yourself as well.
9. Withholding Information
This is what I would call an “error of omission”. For example, the IT Project Manager may come to you and ask if everything is on track for the project to be deployed on the original date in the schedule. You are key to this delivery and implementation and you say “we should be all set”. What you fail to let the IT Project Manager know is that you are not going to be in the office that day. It may or may not be a good reason, but regardless, this is a huge fact to leave out of the conversation and something that would be very helpful to know. Just don’t answer the “letter of the law” of what is being asked, but go beyond that and answer the “spirit of the law” of the intent of the question.
10. Blame it On the IT Project Manager
It’s no surprise that IT Project Managers will make their fair share of mistakes. We all do. But, it should also be no surprise that we are all adults that are working together. If you make a mistake and it was something that you should have known as a professional technical resource, you can’t blame everything on the IT Project Manager. “I didn’t do this particular key thing because the Project Manager didn’t tell me to do it” is not an acceptable answer for every mistake you may make.
And there you have it…my Top 10 List of Things I Hate as an IT Project Manager. The general gist of this list is that people need to act like adults and take accountability for their actions. This list will quickly disappear when that happens and IT projects will come to closure that much faster! Looking for something to love as an IT Project Manager? Try ProjectManager.com FREE for 30 days and see how easy it is to act like an adult and be accountable for your actions! This Web Based Project Management Software is totally unique. With its intuitive dashboard, planner and reporting, you can manage projects like a pro. You can login from anywhere, anytime to see the status of your projects in real time.