Project Management

Top 10 PM Supervillains (and How to Defeat Them)

PMI France Chapter

Olivier Cothenet is a Project Management Officer specializing in new technology of information and communication. He has over 15 years of project management experience in nonprofit organizations, in small, medium and large companies in both local and international contexts.

Projects are long journeys—quests full of adventure in which we generally see the superhero (the project manager) battle a horde of supervillains standing in their way. These villains are unpredictable and crafty, doing all they can to turn the project and organization into chaos. Be prepared, mighty heroes! That’s the only way to defeat these villains and complete the project!

How? Let’s take a look at the most common “villains” you might have to face during your project, including how to recognize them, their nuisance powers—and how to manage them so that you can use their negative energy to your advantage.

1. Zombies

“Sorry, can you explain that to me again? I wasn’t aware of what I had to do…”

They have all been briefed. They all agreed to their responsibilities on the project. They received all communications. But nothing was done.

Resending communications or copying their manager won’t change the game. Don’t expect fear from them, they are already dead—killed by the matrix organization where responsibility is dissolved.

To bring them back to life, convoke them to a one-hour project meeting. In five minutes, re-explain the why of the project, along with the benefits for them and for the organization. For the next 55 minutes, ask them to immediately start their tasks on the …


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