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20 Ways for Project Managers to Lose Professional Respect and Mismanage Projects

As a project manager you can practice these techniques to show the world that you are incompetent. You can use any combination of these techniques in parallel, depending on your appetite.

  1. Don't bother to create or update a project plan. Make it clear to your project team that you view project plans as administrative overhead and are only updated to appease senior management.

  2. Keep handwritten notes instead of electronic project documentation. This ensures that only you have access to critical project information and puts your project team in a bad light when they need to make decisions without access to current project status. It is even better if you keep your handwritten notes at home thereby denying access to your project team members.

  3. Commit your project team to deliver tasks, without their knowledge. Then act astonished and imply that they are not team players because they cannot deliver tasks without seriously impacting other project deliverables.

  4. Insist on attending all status meetings where your teams leaders report status to customers, and then make sure that you add your comments after each team leader reports. This shows everybody that you can't pass up an opportunity to take the spotlight and don't trust your team leaders.

  5. Don't bother to plan more than 15 minutes in advance. Then, when your project runs into unplanned situations which cause emergency overtime work, send out sly emails and give the impression that your project team slipped up and you stepped in to save the day.

  6. Don't communicate your secret project plans to the team. Merely expect them to be sitting around, day after day, waiting for you to realize that you have status reports due on Friday afternoon and you need them to stay late (again).

  7. Claim credit for all achievements on the project, as if you personally developed the code for an enterprise wide software release on your own. Make sure that any credit given to a team member includes a comment to the effect of "You could not have done it without me".

  8. Display different personalities, depending on who you are talking to. Senior managers get the impression that you are competently managing the project. Your project team sees that you cannot be taught basic email skills and need to rely on colleagues to cover up your incompetence in rudimentary skills such as scheduling project meetings.

  9. Don't bother to prepare for meetings. Show up unprepared and fake your way through by asking irrelevant questions and claiming that you are too busy on Project XX to have resolved the Project YY issues you signed up for.

  10. Apply double standards. Work from home and take time off during the day to work out at the gym. Dial into project meetings from your cell phone while your run your kids to school, yet expect your project team to sit at the office every day without the benefit of flexible work hours to run personal errands.

  11. Hold critical project meetings without your project team, so that the customers never contact the team without going through you. This makes it harder for your project team leaders to get the big picture of project issues.

  12. Hog all project leadership development opportunities to yourself and do not allow other project leaders on your team to take responsibility for any highly visible deliverables. Make sure that all project managers assisting you are relegated to administrative tasks such as laborious status reports while you present project status to senior leaders and project sponsors.

  13. Pry into the personal lives of your team members. Assume that your project team wants to know about your husband, brother and mother-in-law's addictions. Ask about their personal lives and pass judgment on their choices of everything, from development workshops they choose to attend to favorite vacation spot.

  14. Be a topper. Insist on always having the last word on every email, in every meeting and always having a better solution to whatever is proposed. Never let any comment be passed without insisting that your comment is better, faster, whatever.

  15. Give your project team a task, and then assign a new task within the hour. Continually change the priorities after you assign tasks so that project team members are not able to see any task through to completion.

  16. Frequently say "I am seeking to understand" as you democratically investigate project issues. Then unveil your true intention which is to jump in with your judgmental opinion and enforce your autocratic solution.

  17. Take it upon yourself to give your opinion and judgment to everyone, on everything. Assume that people want your opinion and judgment, even if they did not ask for either. Say that you are providing "feedback" in a childish attempt to justify this ridiculous cry for attention.

  18. Don't be available to project team members when they need a decision or issue escalated. Make sure that you wait until the last minute before canceling meetings with team members so that they invest time preparing for your meeting before they find out that you are too busy to stay informed of your project.    

  19. Blindly create layers upon layers of complex project bureaucratic processes for everything from project meeting minutes to change control forms that require a set of instructions just to fill out the form. Always hide behind the excuse that more control is required to reduce risk, when in fact you are not competent enough to weigh up the cost of infinite bureaucracy compared to the cost of risks if they should be realized.

  20. Have zero integrity. Attempt to fool your project sponsors and managers using a combination of the tips above. Don't worry; you can get a long way in corporate life without integrity even though your colleagues can see right through you.


These behaviors are particularly irritating to project team members. I trust that you will not engage in them as you lead your projects to success.

Copyright 2018 Wayne Botha Email Wayne Cell: 860.214.4897