Which PM “faux pas” make your hair stand on end?

In my last post about the “school solution,” I noted that there’s something unnerving about project and program managers who skip over the basics.  As Glen Alleman noted in his comment, the PM school solution or black letter law almost always has some merit as a start.

Thinking about this post brought to mind the various project management myths, missteps, and mistakes that put me on edge.  These three always make me wonder about the person who says them:

  • Calling a project schedule a project plan.
  • Not knowing the difference between an issue and a risk.
  • Suggesting that planning is useless if we don’t know all of the activities.

What are your pet peeves?  Which PM faux pas makes you nervous, irritable, and discontented with those who make them?

I smell a poll here!

At least acknowledge the “school solution”

“School solution” is a military-phrase for the standard way in which one would approach a problem or scenario.  While the phrase often is applied pejoratively, it doesn’t have to be so.  In fact, sometimes I wish I heard more folks at least make a gesture towards such standards.

This concept came to mind when I reviewed a proposed risk management process for our transformation program.  While the basics were OK, there were a few indications that the author didn’t know the school solution.  For example, every response was assumed to be “mitigation”.  The proposal also assumed that the risk evaluation would be a “one and done” process… he seemed surprised that we wanted reviews more frequently than quarterly.

There are valid reasons to structure a risk process in a way that doesn’t go strictly by the book.  For example, I can see using a different review cycle for risks where mitigation is the response than those risks one is accepting.  But please show me that you’ve read the book before you propose that we re-write it!

%d bloggers like this: