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I have a situation where a project is in progress, and the project manager does not seem to be doing his job. This is a high profile project within the company, and has a very definite finish date. The project has been running for a couple of months now, but more and more I am having to intervene to ensure the correct management processes are being empolyed to ensure that the project stays on track. Examples of this are ensuring communication is maintained constantly within the project team, ensuring the deliverables are still on track taking the necessary escalation steps if otherwise, and so on.

Is it acceptable to go above the project managers head and report his adequacies? Or should I be providing him with more support?

  • Are you part of the project team or are you above the PM in the hierarchy? – Alexis Dufrenoy Mar 14 '11 at 14:22
  • I am in the project team but we are at the same management level outside the project. – Dave Mar 14 '11 at 14:25
  • Concidering Prince2, a PM is always within the project... how comes he's not? – Kennethvr Mar 14 '11 at 14:32
  • Apologies, let me clarify, he is in the project team. – Dave Mar 14 '11 at 14:59
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First you should talk to the project manager that you are spending more time than planned because of this 'extra' work. Maybe it is just a misunderstanding: because he saw that you take things to heart he 'delegated' this to you in his mind, without discussing it openly. Maybe he is unaware there is an issue at all. So first and foremost, talk to him about it, and look for ways to put things straight.

If the other side stays mute, you should talk to your boss first, telling him the same: that you are doing more then is expected from you and that it has an impact on your time and maybe even the quality of your own work. Then the both of you can decide how to tackle the issue: your boss could talk to his boss about it, or when your boss is also the boss of the PM it is a coaching issue for him.

Jumping hierarchy should be handled with care and only used as the very last option. Exposing somebody in public, without him having had the chance of setting things right, is even worse.

4

Take care on this. As a PM I have a view of the whole project and may have different understanding of the project priorities. If you go over my head, you will take up my time to resolve the issues that raises.

As Stephan says, talk to the PM, if that doesn't work, talk to your supervisor. Use the hierarchy, don't jump it unless there is no other choice, and the issue is critical. You can only come across as a trouble maker if you go to the Sponsor behind the pm's back.

  • Good point. +1 Someone who isn't the PM might not really know all the project details. Plus, the PM might be communicating everything that's necessary and it's possible the OP is over-communicating. – jmort253 Mar 15 '11 at 3:21
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Keep in mind that some leaders merely energize others to do their jobs and then take a step back and let people excel at what they do best. It's possible that the project is going smooth, thanks to people like you who contribute.

If the project isn't going well, management will likely step in, so I would suggest focusing on your sphere of influence and focus on the things that you're responsible for.

The goal is to complete the project, not to single people out and stab them in the back.

I'm not suggesting that's what you're trying to do, and I'm sure you have the best interests of the project in mind. But to others, a back-stabber is the image you could unwittingly portray.

Just continue to provide the support you're providing. You never know, when your roles are reversed, the other PM may be there for you.

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Firstly you want to ensure that your information is correct.

While you describe your actions as having to intervene to ensure the correct management processes are being employed to ensure that the project stays on track, the project manager may be describing your actions as being a pest who is trying to jeopardize the project or some other view in your actions.

So your first task - since you care so much - is to make 100% sure that your view is correct.

At that point make a list of issues and how you suggest to correct them. Make sure you can prove every item on the list (and possibly add the proof int the document).

What you do with this list depends on company culture. Whether you first take it to the product manager or go over his head.

Either way, make it clear that it's not about the product manager, but that you care about the project - and as proof - you'd be happy to step back and have the existing PM implement the changes you suggest.

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