Ugh…this sounds like a toxic culture

I  liked the tone of this post by Johanna Rothman (here).   Of course, she doesn’t include some facts that might help w/ conclusions — e.g., I don’t know what the progress of the program was/is — but here’s my two cents.

The replacement program manager has been telling people to do this task and that one, not providing context, and has been holed up in his office creating the ultimate Gantt chart.

I’ve seen this syndrome enough to worry.  I never like to see program managers holed up for very long, though apparently he does come out every once in a while…

He yells, but I have no idea why he’s upset. 

I’m not a “yeller” — I’m 6′ 4″ (192cm) and 240 lb (110 kg) and am scary enough when I’m calm. But on the rare occasion I yell. It isn’t a button I like to push very often, and not just because it is impolite and uncivil.  It ultimately is ineffective when used much at all.

If you measure or assess people on how they perform certain tasks, such as yelling at program staff, or how well people work on a task in isolation, you will get what you measure. But it won’t be what you want. 

I have worked in a culture like this; the boss was expected to be brusque and even belligerent. Oh, and he/she should be directing every minute part of projects and operations.  Not my “cuppa” and I wasn’t there long…

One Response

  1. Paul,
    This is a troubling story by Johanna. The title Program Manager has little connection with the role of the program manager in any domain I know of where Program Managers, manage programs. Programs being collections of projects with something in common or a Program being a Government contract is substantial size (usually >$20M).
    This seems like one of the those “tales from the crypt” some popular in some circles about the “evil manager.” The problem here isn’t the prorgam manager, it’s the bone headed business managers and the people assigning both these guys to their jobs.
    Maybe they work for GM, Ford, or Chrysler?
    This type of misbehaviour is not even interesting any more. I know it’s there, but like you – go find a better job. I love A&D for the simple reason that Program Management is a profession and these guys won’t last a week. Why does IT tolerate this stuff?

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