31 December, 2018

Who’s to Blame when Your Project Goes Wrong?

Projects go wrong all the time. And one mindset is to look for blame.

It’s rarely helpful.

This article will go out on New Year’s eve, 2018. So, I wanted to do a short, thoughtful note to leave you with something to think about for the coming year.

Who's to Blame when Your Project Goes Wrong?
Who’s to Blame when Your Project Goes Wrong?

Blame comes from Your Mental Excuses

Like all project managers approaching a big milestone, in your darker moments, do you mentally prepare your excuses?

Just in case it all goes wrong.

You are probably familiar with most of them: 

It’s not my fault’ 

is always the starting point.

It’s not my Fault

So, who’s fault is it?

That’s easy; I bet you already have them lined up:

  • It’s the technology
  • It’s the stakeholders
  • or it’s my team

Or maybe it is you. But, let’s face it: it’s not your fault.

  • You didn’t have enough time
  • You’re too old
  • You’ve never done anything like this before

Or perhaps it’s just bad luck.

No, No, No

Face it Project Manager. There are a lot of things that are genuinely outside of your control, but you know and I know that all of these excuses are bogus. They all represent things you can bring into your control, and that’s your job.

So, before you start planning your excuses, prioritise planning your project.

And if things do go wrong…

Stop looking for blame and start looking for solutions first…
and then lessons.

As a Project Manager, you need to get used to setbacks.  

What matters is how you handle your setbacks and how you bounce back.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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