The Evolving PM

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I was recently asked to help out an organization that was having some issues with morale in its PMO. There were a lot of issues going on, and it would take a whole host of articles to cover them all, but in this article I want to introduce a situation that I faced with one particular individual and use it to explore some of the challenges that are facing all of us today.

The situation
The individual in question was in his mid-50s and had been a project manager for almost 30 years--back to a time when project managers were truly a rare breed outside of a few specialized areas. He started his project management career in the military and had an impressive track record. However, he was completely demoralized, was doing the bare minimum to keep his job, was a source of frustration to senior management and was generally disliked by his project teams. One executive even said to me that the only reason that he still had a job was because “it’s too expensive to get rid of him.”

I met with him to get his perspective and he was actually remarkably open with me about what was troubling him. He felt that the way that the organization was executing project management was flawed and that he was being asked to support a process that was doomed to failure. Having spent some time reviewing the organizations methodology and processes, I actually felt that they were…

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"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

- Douglas Adams