The Reluctant Team Member

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 know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone thinks that working on projects is the most amazing thing they could be doing! Any project manager could find themselves with someone on the team who really doesn’t want to be there—in fact, it’s a relatively common occurrence (we’ll explore why in a minute).

For a project manager, it’s tempting to try and work around that person—avoiding the frustrations and hassles of dealing with them and just concentrating on delivering the project despite their involvement, not with it. That’s not the best strategy, so let’s look at how we can get the most out of those individuals.

Why do projects often get reluctant workers?
We have to start by understanding how people are assigned to projects. In many organizations—especially on traditional or waterfall projects—resources are assigned by their functional managers. That may work out well with resource owners who understand the needs of the project (and ensure the best fit combination of skills, experience and enthusiasm are allocated to projects).

However, it often doesn’t work like that. While things have improved over recent years, there can still be a tendency for resource owners to use projects as a dumping ground. I know of many projects that continue to fail because a functional manager has assigned someone…

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"There is not one wise man in 20 that will praise himself."

- William Shakespeare