project manager with a hammer, loosing his mindYou may have had some experience with a project manager who was not as efficient as perhaps they should have been. When we come across an ineffective project manager, what do you usually think of them? Which characteristics upset you most? If you happen to be in a position to contribute to his performance appraisal, you may have even written down some of the expressions below:

1.He is always complaining about internal processes, resources, the client, the deadlines, etc. But never actually offers any solutions.

2.He is not a proactive person. He does not anticipate problems. He acts reactively, from crisis to crisis.

3.He takes a long time to make a decision. He does not seem to have clear criteria.

4.He does not have a complete plan of the project, either written down or in his head. When I ask for one, he creates a Gantt Chart but I suspect it is only to fill up the file.

5.He does not manage time well. He is always overwhelmed. He never seems to have time for anything new. He does not answer emails. He does not return calls. He is always too busy doing urgent things to do anything important. He generally fails to meet commitments.

6.He does not know how to delegate, every decision must be his. He gets too involved in technical tasks.

7.He is too authoritarian. He has exhausted the team. He receives numerous complaints from department managers, clients, suppliers, etc. He does not have a good relationship with those involved, they do not trust him.

8.He lacks drive to close the project. He always tells me that we are at 90%.

9.I always see him making the same mistakes. He stumbles at the same hurdle every time. He does not try to improve.

10.He does not keep a record of incidents. He does not know how to manage scope. He says ‘yes’ to everything the client wants.

11.He is unaware of the budget, what has been spent, billed, the profit margin, etc.

12.He gives me no executive information. For example, he is incapable of justifying real progress, what the final delay on the project will be and how much the cost will overrun.

Ineffective project managers are usually criticised for lacking “soft skills”
Please take notice that only the last three bullet points are related to hard skills. Most ineffective project managers are criticised for lacking soft skills. A project could fail simply because two team members are always fighting, because the team has low morale or because we do not understand client requirements.

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