IT World Canada
Loser Project Manager


Yogi Schulz

Published: July 16th, 2014



Too many project managers become immersed in the tactical details of their project. Try this six question test to see if you’re one of them

Are you working flat out to deliver your project while almost no one is noticing or seems to care?

Too many project managers become immersed in the tactical details of their project to the detriment of their careers and the project’s reputation. These obsessed project managers believe that only they are smart enough to supervise the details required to produce quality deliverables.

Winning project managers prioritize managing up and out while relying on the experience of their project team to ensure project deliverables are completed and are fit-for-purpose. We’ll talk about them in the next blog.

Are you managing too much in and down?

Ask yourself these questions to determine if your focus as a project manager is too much down and in.
1. I spend some time coaching every project team member every week.
2. During my quality assurance review of project deliverables, I make material changes to almost every document.
3. Reflecting on my work during the past month, I’ve spent more time in the role of business analyst than in the role of project manager.
4. I lead requirements gathering meetings of the project team.
5. I spend more than half an hour on managing project team timesheets each week.
6. I spend more than 1 hour on project cost tracking and the estimate-to-complete each month.

For more examples of poor project management techniques, read Loser Manager Makes Project Fail

What do the answers mean?

The wrong answers to these questions typically mean one or more of the following:
1. You are focused too much on the details of the project and not enough on the organization around the project.
2. Your project is understaffed for the demands of the project.
3. Your heroic focus on quality goes well beyond what the organization requires and will appreciate.
4. You are micromanaging the project team.

Now What?

Consider these actions since you presumably want to improve your career prospects and enhance your project’s reputation.
1. Show more trust in your project team’s ability to work independently. Quit micromanaging.
2. Strengthen your project team if your team really is too junior.
3. If your team is too small for the scope of the project, acquire the needed staff.
4. Quit over-delivering on quality. Set fit-for-purpose quality targets.

If you disagree with these actions, ask yourself if you’re an excellent business analyst who has been thrust into the role of project manager but you’re not happy in this new role.

I’ll discuss how winning project managers behave in my next blog.