The two most typical reasons for projects failing—if you dig deep enough—are bad ideas and uncontrolled scope. Project managers see it all too often, but more often than not they feel powerless to change it. Due to upper management pushing for a project or because of processes put in place, project managers often feel as though their only option is to move forward—even when moving forward almost certainly means failure.
This post by Gopal K. Kapur discusses how to get around the problem of project managers not stepping up and making a push against bad ideas or growing scope creep. Kapur starts with how project managers should be dealing with unrealistic goals or expectations:
Another big contributor to failed and challenged projects is the inevitable scope creep. We all know that at times customers can be unreasonable and unrealistic in their expectations, but they're also subject to external pressures they can't control — government regulations, competitive positioning, emerging opportunities and the classic “silver bullet” syndrome, also known as Management by Magazine. (This occurs when the customer reads an article on an airplane while 35,000 feet over Kansas and forms a new vision.)
But forcing the team to agree to continuous scope creep is clearly not the solution. And you get hit with a double whammy when projects are built around half-baked ideas. A half-baked idea that turns into a project with extensive scope creep is a nightmare.
What can project managers do to minimize these problems? Simply stated: Learn to say no.
Disobedient, but with Big Support
But project managers can’t accomplish what’s possible through intelligent disobedience without the support of higher-level executives. It’s important that the culture of intelligent disobedience takes hold first, elsewise the project manager is likely to only become more frustrated rather than successful at bringing about positive change.
Read the full post here: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/95504/Intelligent_Disobedience