WHAT TO DO
Focus on full disclosure. Discover the
issue, resolve it and move forward.
“If you find a mistake in the planning, you have to be truthful as to why
it was a mistake,” says Mr. Ghani. “It’s
not a matter of finding a scapegoat or
finding who made the mistake. You have
to rectify it, and the sooner it is known,
then the more time you have to make
the necessary actions to rectify and assess
the impact to the overall deadline.”
On one project last year, Mr.
Ghani’s team forgot to include an item
in the timeline. The mistake “basically
derailed the project,” he says, but the
team had to forge ahead.
“Delays sap people’s energy,” he
says. It’s up to the project manager to
rally the troops and get them working
toward a common goal.
“When there’s a problem you have to
tell the truth and you have to be in sync
with your team so that you won’t lose
their respect. If there are any changes or
any problems, they’ll be behind you 100
percent because they know they can
trust you,” Mr. Ghani says. “The project
manager has accountability for the project,
but he or she can’t do it alone.”
THE ISSUE: TEAM
Two arch rivals have declared
war and they don’t really care
about collateral damage. The
rest of the team waits it out, ducking
WHAT TO DO
There’s no time to waste. Project managers should schedule a face-to-face
meeting and convince the warring parties to iron out their differences for the
sake of the project.
“The project manager must be willing to move aside every obstacle,
including interpersonal ones, to get the
project done,” says Mr. Patton. If there
is a conflict, he tries to get the two team
members to work together.
When there’s a problem you have
to tell the truth and you have to be
in sync with your team so that you
won’t lose their respect. If there
are any changes or any problems,
they’ll be behind you 100 percent
because they know they can trust
you. The project manager has
accountability for the project, but
he or she can’t do it alone.
—Azwin Abdul Ghani, PMP, Ericsson Global Delivery Center, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
If that doesn’t work, he says, “I
would go into the room one-on-one
with these two people and I would say,
‘We’ve made every attempt to get you
guys to work together, I’m going to ask
you one more time: Can you give up
your personal differences to work for
the rest of this project together?’”
If they still can’t resolve their differences, it’s time to divide and conquer.
“If one of them says, ‘no,’ then I say,
‘Okay, I want to talk to you about your
continued participation in the project,
and at the end of this meeting, my
objective is to eliminate one of you
from the team,’” Mr. Patton explains.
At the same time as this process
occurs, he works to get the support of
management in deciding who goes.
“The one who gives the most value to
the project would stay and then we
would find a replacement for the
other,” he says.
“Taking action to remove one person
or the other is usually perceived with a
sigh of relief by the other team members,” Mr. Patton says. After all the
drama and wondering what’s going to
be done, at least now they have an
“They want a project manager who
will commit to leading the project.” PM