Beware the Implementation Trolls

From the Voices on Project Management Blog
by , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Marian Haus
Lynda Bourne
Lung-Hung Chou
Bernadine Douglas
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Roberto Toledo
Vivek Prakash
Cyndee Miller
Shobhna Raghupathy
Wanda Curlee
Rex Holmlin
Christian Bisson
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Jess Tayel

Recent Posts

Business Transformation With the End in Mind

Move Beyond Herding Cats

Strategy In a VUCA World—Part 2

Strategy In a VUCA World—Part 1

Just Ignore the Trends—and Run to the Noise

Categories: Project Failure

Those project managers who have accepted the quest of advancing project management capability within your organization need to be aware of a very real threat on their path. Implementation Trolls are skulking all about you, ready to bring you down.
    For example, one favorite troll tactic is to lurk beneath a bridge and attempt to eat unwary travelers who attempt to cross. If we take the action of walking across a bridge as a metaphor for initiating any change, then the Implementation Trolls destroy you in transit, usually by ginning up to the organization's nominal resistance to change. While it is beyond debate that the amount of time and energy that goes into setting up a very simple earned value management system (EVMS) pays huge dividends in useful management information, the Implementation Trolls will complain long and loud about how even that small amount of effort is overly arduous. These beings complain so excessively about largely contrived grievances they should be made honorary members of the Trial Lawyers Association.
    Then, once you've crossed the bridge and approached the castle that serves as the keep for your sought-after treasure, an advanced project management information system, you will encounter an entirely different breed of Implementation Troll.
    Far from picking off your comrades for making people do stuff that's supposedly way to hard, these trolls will insist that anything you bring them is not good enough. These Implementation Trolls are invariably armed with clubs that have the infamous 32 EVMS criteria etched into them, and they take great pleasure in pummeling all those who approach. The infuriating thing about these trolls is that they will often present themselves as erstwhile allies to your cause, but will then gleefully destroy your efforts as being sub-standard. Like their notorious counterparts from Norse mythology, Implementation Trolls have what can only be described as bizarre senses of proportion and perspective, and will inflict their damage while pretending to occupy the intellectual high ground.
    I'm very interested in finding out what the project management blogosphere thinks about Implementation Trolls.
Posted by MICHAEL HATFIELD on: November 12, 2008 03:12 PM | Permalink

Comments (1)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
Bob Trafton, PMP
Trolls - My observation has been Trolls operate out of fear, pride, or lack of knowledge. These can be addressed by education (PM training - we all need that for everything we do in life), communication (showing you care about their ideas and sharing your ideas), and change (either people change or people need to be changed - to promote a productive team). All of these are (or should be) in the domain of a Project Manager. Robert C. Trafton, PMP

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers.

- James Thurber