The title of this article is the quote from John Cleese’s character, Sheriff Langston, in the movie Silverado. While this was uttered during a humorous sequence, it comes to mind whenever I witness a project manager imposing self-created limits on the extent of their influence.
In lower maturity organizations, PMs are often asked (or volunteer) to take on activities which are clearly the responsibility of other stakeholders just to keep their projects on track, and I’d be the last person to suggest that a PM should constantly be overstepping job boundaries that have been clearly defined as this will just reinforce inappropriate behavior on the part of others, and usually results in overwork and reduced job satisfaction for the PM.
On the other hand, the challenge with managing to the triple (or quadruple) constraint is that it can encourage a very clinical focus that runs counter to the “art” of project management. A PM who blatantly ignores scope, schedule, cost or quality constraints is definitely not acting professionally, but neither is one who rigidly adheres to them while demonstrating a lack of perspective on the project’s outcomes.
So with tongue (only partially) planted in cheek, here’s my top five list of signs that you’ve been spending too much time living in what Bill Maher would term “the Bubble“?
- You fend off pleas to look at the big picture by using your job summary and WBS like dueling weapons
- Your favorite expression is “throw it over the wall”
- You’ve requested that your PMO’s change request template be modified to accommodate six digit change request IDs.
- You’ve kept a lawyer busy developing iron-clad “rules of engagement” contracts with peers from other departments
- The (project) operation was a success but the (product) patient died