Project Team From Hell – Watch Them Fail Miserably

Dick Billows, PMP
Dick Billows, PMP
Dick’s Books on Amazon

At some time in their career, everyone who manages projects has had a Project Team From Hell that failed miserably. The team not only failed to achieve the project’s goals, it also ruined several personal lives, careers and marriages. Let’s watch this one.

We’ll zoom in to Royster Industries and meet some of the characters that turned this group into the ultimate Project Team From Hell.  First we have Gilbert, the project manager, who would like to be a geek but isn’t smart enough.  Gilbert spends half of his time trying to suck up to upper management. He doesn’t realize they think he is the worst kind of lowlife. He spends the other half of his time assembling a micro-mini work breakdown structure (WBS) that is 5,739 lines long for a project with just two week’s duration. Every task is broken down into micro-tasks that may take minutes to complete. It is so complex that it takes Gilbert about 10 days to enter all of the prior week’s status reports. He falls further and further behind and convinces everyone that he is long past this point of incompetence.

Next we have Jasper, one of the stakeholders. He manages a department that is unimportant and has no impact on the companyProject Team from Hell‘s revenues or profits excepted to decrease them. His great pleasure is to bait project managers into telling senior management outright lies about the status of their project.  Then he delights in watching the water torture of executives questioning these deceitful project managers like prisoners of war.

Then we have Stephanie. On the basis of intelligence, initiative and common sense, she should be the organization’s CEO. Instead, she’s a lowly associate trapped in one losing project after another by Gilbert’s micromanagement.  She dashes from team member to team member trying to prevent them from sinking further into the swamp of their finger-pointing, blame avoiding and personal attacks. Unfortunately, she fails miserably.

Watch this Project Team From Hell. Have you worked with any of these personalities or in these situations? If you have outrageous examples of how to screw up a project, send them to us in a comment. We’ll try to work them into the next episode of 537 Ways to Screw Up a Project.

How to Screw Up Project: Status Reports

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Author: Dick Billows, PMP

Dick has more than 25 years of project and program management experience throughout the US and overseas. Dick was a partner in the 4th largest professional firm and a VP in a Fortune 200 company. He trained and developed 100's of project managers using his methodology. Dick is the author of 14 books, over 300 articles and director/producer of 90 short project management training videos. He and a team of 25 project managers work with client companies & students across the US and in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East. They have assisted over 300 organizations in improving their project performance. Books by Dick Billows, PMP are on