January 27th, 2010

10 Things Project Managers never hear often enough...like...never

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Is my list an illusion, just like this painted metro train?

Here are 10 things I never hear often enough (uh, almost never) but wish I did:

  1. From the Engineering Manager who assigns key people to projects: “Yes, Steve is available to work on your project. He can start today. Is that okay for you?” (Steve is the very best. Trust me, the Steves are never available for your project. Never. )
  2. From each of your team members at a status meeting: “All of my actions are done. I already updated the action item list on the project intranet and started on the next one.” (Okay, to be fair, this does happen, but rarely. And I am very nice to the people who say these things to me. Really nice.)
  3. From your customer: “You were supposed to send me your invoice yesterday. Please hurry up and send it so that I can approve it for payment.” (Does this even need an explanation? I didn’t think so.)
  4. From each of your team members: “Yes, the drawing / program / customer deliverable is ready 2 weeks early.” (In other words, they did this without my having to nag them 45,000 times. Neat.)
  5. From your engineering team during integration testing, on the first try: “All of our tests are successful. We are ahead of schedule.” (Integration testing is NEVER successful on the first try. Never. It’s a Law of Physics.)
  6. From your Finance/IT department: “Yes we can get project costs out of the ERP system, updated automatically, in real time. All you have to do is click this button with your mouse. It’s as easy as Twitter.” (In other words, the data isn’t one month old when you finally get it? Whoa.)
  7. From any of your team members at any time: “Yes, I already put that document on the project intranet. And it exactly corresponds to the norms that you issued at the start of the project.” (In other words, the team actually read the Communication Plan. Cool.)
  8. From your management: “Do you have everything that you need? Is there anything I can do for you?” (Since when does this ever happen?) (Okay, to be fair, of the many bosses I have had in my career, there was only one who actually came into my humble cubicle and asked me this question. I can assure you that he did not leave without a list. I wonder why he never came back?)
  9. From your management: “You don’t need to submit  this report anymore. I don’t read it anyway. Besides, I can get the information myself out of the ERP.” (Sometimes I wonder if they even know how to use those Blackberries and laptops to actually read project status information.)
  10. From any of your suppliers: “We have a special going on right now. That item is free of charge and will ship today.” (I was going all out with this one…)

I suppose I should look at it this way: if people actually started saying these things to me (and meaning it), then it would mean that the world no longer needed Project Managers.

Feel free to suggest others in your comments!

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