A Project From Hell always begins with bad project planning tools. Watch as a project manager uses fairly typical, but poor, planning tools and estimating techniques to develop the hours and due dates for the project team. Then you’ll see private interviews with each of the team members and hear their reaction to the project manager’s planning techniques. They clearly reveal their lack of commitment to their tasks and the entire project.
The project sponsor is demanding an “on time finish” for the project and really tight control. The project manager thinks tight control means an extremely detailed plan broken down into small tasks for each team member. So he launches into the planning process with this mind set. The plan and schedule list hundreds of small tasks and he thinks that gives him tight control.
Listen to the project team talk about the planning process and the kind of assignments they’ve been given. We soon understand that the project manager is not going to have tight control. Instead, he’ll be working with demoralized team members who fully expect the project to fail. And they’re right because the project manager is unable to make a proper plan aimed at producing the project’s scope. All this project manager can do is list hundreds of micro-tasks for the team complete.
The project manager should have used a very different tactic. Instead of micromanaging the project team, the project manager should have planned crystal clear assignments. That means that each of the team members understood what they had to deliver and what the project manager expected of them. The project manager also needed to tap into each team member’s creativity by making assignments that are as large as they could handle. With this approach, the team members would be challenged and committed to completing their assignment. And they would use all their creativity and experience to deliver their assignments on time.
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