Project Management

The Danger of Working With Friends

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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

We all spend a lot of time at work. Many of us spend more waking hours with colleagues (albeit largely virtually at the moment) than we do with our immediate families. It’s therefore natural that we develop friendships among our colleagues.

If you’re a new project manager in particular, having someone on your team that you are friends with can seem like a great benefit. It gives you someone you can let your guard down with, someone you can turn to for advice without them judging you, and someone who can provide reassurance when things get tough.

Unfortunately, having a friend on your team can also be dangerous. It gives that person a perceived special status in the eyes of other team members, and that can result in concern over how the personal relationship you have with one person will impact how the project is being managed.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work with your friends, but it does mean you have to be conscious of how the relationship will be perceived—and how you need to manage that.

The unique role of project manager
As the project manager, you have a unique position. You are part of the overall project team, but other team members will never see you as an equal because your role immediately aligns you with leadership and management. That creates a degree of distancing that occurs even on the most close-knit team. This …

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