Covering Things up Is Never the Right Approach

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.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

There isn’t a lot that gets me upset when it comes to project management. After all my years in the profession, I understand that things go wrong and that getting annoyed or frustrated about it doesn’t help. However, there is one behavior that I see from project managers time and time again that really annoys me.

Here’s the situation: I am provided with a status report that says everything is “green.” There are no issues and work is moving ahead smoothly. With some slight variations, I get the same update for several weeks and then all of a sudden, a status report comes in that says the project has gone from being on track to being months behind, irretrievably over budget and will never deliver the full scope—and it’s all happened in a single reporting period.

It’s possible that something dramatic and unforeseen went wrong. Possible, but very unlikely. What happens in the vast majority of these situations is that there is some minor issue that occurs that the project manager doesn’t want to formally document. It may be nothing more than a single task finishing a couple of days late. The PM is concerned that if that is reported in the status report, it will be made into a much bigger problem than it really is, and they may worry that it will reflect on them.

So instead, they don’t report it, instead working …

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"I've always believed in the adage that the secret of eternal youth is arrested development."

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