The end of the holidays is the traditional time for people to make resolutions and a common theme for many is to practice moderation in eating, drinking or spending. Too much of anything, even a good thing, is unhealthy and the same can be said about project management practices. While there is a “right” amount of discipline which should be applied to a given project, it is quite easy to go beyond minimally sufficiency with negative repercussions.
Here are a few examples of project management over indulgence.
Too much planning is as risky as too little. Over planning consumes effort and time which might have been better spent on delivering scope. It can also create a false sense of confidence as the more detailed the plan, the greater the potential for bias causing us to ignore evidence that the plan is flawed.
Excessive effort spent by the project manager on stakeholder engagement might result in ensure that expectations are well managed, but may mean that the PM is neglecting the team. The opposite could also be happening in the case of project managers who focus too much on team building and miss early warning signs of stakeholder disengagement.
A little risk management can save a lot of fan cleaning, but too much risk management is like being over insured. Not only does this impact the value realization of risk management but it also reduces credibility in this critical discipline.
Obsessing over the triple constraint might cause a team to achieve approved baselines but deliver a solution which doesn’t generate expected business outcomes. This could also result in reduced quality or increased technical debt if the team cuts corners to meet cost or schedule constraints.
Communicating might represent 90% of a project manager’s job, but over communicating would mean that a thimbleful of meaningful content gets lost in a sea of minutiae.
And finally, monitoring the team’s progress is important but over monitoring is micro-management.
“Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.” – Epicurus