The Bad Project Management Olympics –First Entry Part 1, Surely You Can Top It

 theunknownpm.JPGYou too can do everything wrong! And you can do it well. Let us share the wisdom of slinking by in   corporate America. Here’s the first entry up there in the “Bad Project Management Olympics”. The question is do you have the story to top it? I believe this one should be very topable however we don’t just want garden variety disasters. It really isn’t just size of the disaster that matters either, and no that comment doesn’t necessarily identify me as male. We are talking finesse and style as well as pyrotechnic project explosions. We are talking a finely tuned bad project management machine! By your entry should be real, reality is truly more bizarre than anything else we know.

It’s three O’clock on a Wednesday afternoon and I’ve brought the architect to go talk with the new Marketing EVP who of course has just been but in charge of redoing overall platform for our entire financial site and as is expected has no clue what he is doing. I have wind he has just cancelled several projects and let everyone know his platform project will do it all instead. Am I there to help guide him? Ha, ha, he, he, he. The architect and I complain endlessly about our project as being only tactical and not strategic and how we would like to be involved with the more strategic projects like those he’s in charge of. We explain how we would approach his project in exactly the opposite manner of what we believe in under the guise of giving him advice (to be fair I really was trying to help him there knowing he would never do as the front lines advise, nope not with that lofty ego). “What is your projects name?” he asks. I repeat it several times. “Oh, well I’m sorry we don’t have anything to help you and really, I’m not terribly interested in your project, it sounds rather dull and tactical, I’m sorry I can’t be involved actively, actually I don’t really see it being absorbed as part of my platform project now. It should exist outside of it. I’m sorry”. In the mean time as we have been explaining all this and impressing on the VP how our project is so dull and we are desperate to get off it and giving him other B.S. the phone is ringing, ringing. It is my team. We have a team meeting at 4:00. I totally ignore their desperate pleas for me to answer. Keep in mind I’m acting as their manager and I’m supposed to facilitate the meeting. Team members are all calling the facilitator (me) trying to get me to show up and start the meeting. I found their faith somewhat touching as I ignored the calls. To be continued…


2 thoughts on “The Bad Project Management Olympics –First Entry Part 1, Surely You Can Top It”

  1. User Avatar

    Cool, I think I remember that project… literally, only we were no
    doubt blowing up the electronics while you were busy flying to Asia.
    Take heart any student newbies out there… Kimberly led us to a
    successful delivery, probably at the expense of her sanity however,
    and this is an original quote “sanity is just extra baggage”. This
    project was a pillar of the offering of this company for quite some
    time. Believe it! Achieve it! Oh.. that’s Kimberlys qoute now. I
    guess if Shampa had been the VP none of these entries
    would have been entered in the Bad PM olympics either. It’s
    good to have VPs who do their part to suppport that olympic moment.

  2. User Avatar

    Now that you mention it . . . there was one project where the team made so many ridiculous blunders that one day we actually turned to one another and asked “Is this just a string of bad luck, or are we truly incompetent?” We’d send a drawing for a pice of sheet metal to a shop to be prototyped and they’d call and ask “Which Rev. A do you want us to make – we have 2 different ones.” We’d get the gold master sent out and have 400 hard drives duplicated with the operating system only to find out that some of the old bugs resurfaced because we’d built an older version of the code. We’d fly to Asia to find out why we could never get the same color of paint on our plastic panels and find a bunch of open cans of our “custom” paint colors evaporating in the storage room. We’d spend hours trying to nail down the requirements for the packaging with our Fortune 500 partner and, out of frustration, they’d ask us why we didn’t just look at the sample they’d sent us 2 months ago . . . the sample that was stored under the VP of Engineering’s desk – he never thought to give it to us. What a mess! Finally it occurred to us that getting some sleep would dramatically improve the situation, and we sent the whole team home for 3 days. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz . . . Go figure! Lesson learned: When the speed of mistakes exceeds the speed of progress, take a time out.

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