17 June, 2005

Welcome to Project Death Spiral

Perhaps it was a little premature of me to be joking about the Team Leader looking wild-eyed earlier this week. Having spent most of the day being asked to justify everything he does (and why everything that happens on the project takes time rather than being willed into existence instantly), the last straw seemed to come late this afternoon when he was asked to justify a meeting with the organisation's designated software supplier. He's now decided to adhere rigidly to the job description he was contracted to do, rather than continue to go above and beyond in getting the project back on the schedule it had slipped from before he came on the scene and for which he's being continually asked to account.

It would be an exaggeration to say that people are already hunting for a scapegoat, but it certainly makes the previous project manager's question earlier this week ("Could I carry the project through to its conclusion, or would I need a project manager to do that?") seem even more ominous than it did at the time.

Things had actually seemed slightly encouraging yesterday when I met the new project manager and found him willing to take a more hands-on approach than his predecessor. He also seemed interested in moving away from the traditional City Council definition of a project manager (i.e. someone who fills the PHB role in a project) and towards the conventional sense where he actually manages the project.

Despite that, his efforts to make sure the team leader doesn't overstep his bounds by actually talking directly to people and therby breaking the chain of command are a little worrisome.

Should be interesting to see what the climate's like come Monday.

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