Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Snakes on a Project
Project managers must manage team dysfunction. Sometimes the dysfunction comes from the top (Sponsor, Steering Committee, Senior Management) and sometimes it comes from the project stakeholders and core team members (or the project manager). The project manager must be a motivator, and additionally must keep the team focused on the project’s objectives. Most importantly, the project manager must do all they can to ensure that negative or destructive elements are kept clear of their projects. Sometimes these negative elements (people) are called “project snakes”.
Project Snake Facts
Project snakes aren’t interested in you, your team, or your project’s success
Project snakes won’t confront you with an issue or problem
Project snakes are interested in feeding (their own needs and ego)
Project snakes operate one way – surprise attack!
Project snakes strike when you least expect it
Project snakes (almost always) operate alone
Project snakes have few if any real friends (except other snakes)
Project snakes wear pants and skirts
When you find out there is a snake present, ensure you expose him or her for what they are. When exposing the snake, make sure you do this in a way that won’t cost you or another person on your team their job.
Snakes are devious, sneaky, and often powerful. Remember, the snake is all about feeding their own appetite (ego). Hopefully, if you and your team continue to do the right things the snake will slither off to feed somewhere else.
Project teams are most productive when they have fun, trust each other, have commitment to the project’s objectives, embrace open communications, and are working in a culture where their opinion is appreciated and they are creating value.
Project snakes don’t care about people, teams, and most of all projects that don’t serve their narrow agenda. Project snakes are sneaky predators that feed on the weak. Beware of the snake!