Project management is a critical skill. Many projects fail because of poor project management skill on the part of project managers. There are certain characteristics common to all bad and ineffective project managers.
One common trait observed in ineffective project managers is that they have poor communication skills. They are not open in their communication with team members. They practice what can be termed as communication-discrimination. They play favoritism when it comes to communicating. They share knowledge and information only with team members whom they prefer and like and close communication channels with other team members. This hampers effective collaboration in the project and results in its ultimate failure.
Ineffective project managers tend to suffer from tunnel-vision. This means they tend to focus too much on the interests of one stakeholder at the cost of excluding the interests of other stakeholders. The interests of all the stakeholders should be balanced so that project is able to achieve its goals and objectives.
Ineffective project managers tend to have out-of-date project control books. The project control book contains up-to-date data and information about the present status of the project. Without an up-to-date project control book, the project manager fails in effectively monitoring and controlling the project. Nowadays sophisticated project management softwares have replaced project-control books.
A project involves coordination and collaboration between team members. During this process inter-personal conflicts often arise. It is the project manager’s job to take pro-active steps to resolve these inter-personal conflicts. Ineffective and bad project managers ignore such inter-personal conflicts and do not take steps to resolve them in a timely manner.
Ineffective project managers tend to be poor at risk management. They are unable to identify the potential risks to the project and do not have plans to meet the risks and contingencies when they materialize. They are often bad at managing risks.
Such project managers also tend to not focus on the business value that the project is intended to create. They focus only on the delivering the project within the scope, schedule and costs. Focus on the business value that a project is intended to create results in better project implementation.
Bad project managers tend to make too many assumptions. Their assumptions are based not on the available data and information but on personal biases and gut feeling. They are also not flexible with their assumptions and are not ready to change them when the reality turns out otherwise. Good project managers make minimal assumptions and move with an open mind and flexible approach.