Celebrating Failure…and Other PM Oddities

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.

One of the great things about writing for ProjectManagement.com is the interactions it enables with you, the readers. And of course, because we don’t really know each other, the interaction through email or messaging here is reasonably anonymous.

That results in some interesting questions, and since I started writing articles geared toward new PMs, I’ve received quite a lot of them. I suspect these are things that have been bugging you—but that you don’t want to ask at work for fear of looking foolish. So, I’ll try and address some of them in this article. Let’s start with the first such question I received…

“Should I celebrate failure?”
A PM had just finished their first project, and despite the team working very hard, the project was unsuccessful. Everyone was disappointed. The PM wanted to organize an end-of-project celebration before everyone went back to their home departments to thank everyone for their hard work. But he was afraid to ask for permission because the project had failed. What should he do? Was it okay to celebrate at the end of a failed project?

This one’s easy—absolutely it’s okay. In fact, it’s more important than on a successful project. When things go well, the team feels good anyway; when things go bad, they need a boost—they need to know that their efforts …


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