Project Management

Nurture the Talent, Don't Abuse the Lack of Experience

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.

There have been a very few times in my career when I have had been faced with someone who was so upset that they were in tears. It has always made me feel helpless because the cause of the upset was something beyond my control. All I could do was try and be supportive and understanding.

But the last time, it happened virtually—which makes it harder to deal with, and just made me angry. And the reason it made me angry is because the situation should never have been allowed to happen.

It was a new project manager—more accurately a former project manager—who had quit his job and the company after just three months of his first assignment. Why? Because the experienced PM who had been appointed to support him had driven him out.

With his permission, I’m going to recount the scenario here. It’s an extreme example, but to a lesser extent I have seen or heard of it happening in many different organizations.

“Let’s have fun with the new PM”
It started right at the beginning of the project. The new PM had been sent on a foundational training course and knew the basic theory of what was involved in delivering a project, but had never been able to apply that theory. Working with the more experienced project manager who had been appointed to guide him through his first project, he started to put together an agenda for the kickoff.…

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- Mark Twain