Dealing with Disruptive Apples

Al Taylor is an independent IT contractor in Ontario, Canada.

What do we mean by “disruptive influences”? I think that for most of us, what instantly comes to mind when we hear that term are the “bad apples” or “bad actors” that can have a negative impact on the project.

The bad actors in the scope of this article are the malevolent kind—those who for one reason or another will intentionally attempt to have a negative impact on the project. Also in scope here are the bad actors who attempt to influence the project for the better—but for one reason or another have the exact opposite effect. Some of these bad actors you probably already know; others you will come to know during the execution of the project.

A good home for the documentation of these types of disruptive influences is a private risk register that is known to only you and your closest allies on the project. I also discuss a possible approach to dealing with those bad actors that disrupt the project (and also where their behavior cannot be corrected).

Let’s first discuss a possible approach to dealing with the bad actors. Let’s call it “1 and gone.” We all make mistakes or experience errors in judgement. The “1 and gone” approach suggests that the project can forgive—but also acknowledges that the business goals of the project are paramount. If our bad actor represents a repeat …

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"He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot, but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot."

- Groucho Marx

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