Consider a hypothetical project manager, Christine, who has superlative technical skills to run projects as well as excellent people skills. She has been fortunate to work with intelligent, hardworking, highly competent team members on the projects she has managed. By anyone's reckoning, Christine and her teams should constitute “dream teams” that consistently get the job done on time, within budget, and according to specifications—and whose work leads to customer delight. The reality, however, is that Christine and her teams constantly struggle to carry out their projects and they often face schedule slippages, cost overruns, and customer discontent. What's going on here?
When this type of phenomenon occurs, it may reflect the fact that project teams and their project managers are not receiving the kinds of support they need from their organization. This is illustrated in the following three examples:
Because an organization lacks an effective project accounting system, its project teams do not have proper budget control data to check to see whether they are on target or whether they are drifting.
Because an organization lacks an effective precontract review process, sales staff continually promise customers more than project teams can deliver, thus raising customer expectations and leading to eventual customer disaffection and exasperation.
Because an organization provides its workers with antiquated tools, project teams have trouble developing high-quality results.