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“Gather around, children. It’s time for our weekly status call. Thank you for joining this ca…oh, what’s that Jimmy? You don’t have your tasks completed for the third week in a row? Okay, no problem. I guess we can push the delivery date back another month. Thanks for all that you do!”
I work for a small organization, and like most small companies, I have to wear multiple hats on a daily basis. One of those hats has a big red sign on it that reads, “Project Manager, please ignore my emails and G-chats.”
Everyone thinks that a leadership role is their big break. “I’ve been working my ass off since I started. Now is my time! Finally, I can tell other people what to do!”
Delegating responsibilities means that you have to follow up with the delegated and that’s where the real fun begins. When you follow up with someone internally, you usually have a rapport with them so the conversation goes pretty well or you know how to approach this specific person to give them the proper motivation.
“Tommy, what’s up brother? Hey I don’t want to be a dick but you said you would have the files for the Johnson account in my inbox by Friday and now it’s Monday and I still don’t have them. Can you jump on that before the client rips my head off and shits down my throat?”
Typically the response is, “No problem, you will have them by lunch.” Or something to that effect.
All is well. The client is happy and I can finally sleep at night knowing Mr. Customer is not going to murder me.
We all know that one guy who not only doesn’t deliver when he says he will but he can never accept responsibility for his actions. It’s always, “I’ve been slammed, totally slipped my mind.”
“I was just about to send that over to you.”
“I’m adding some finishing touches, I’ll get it to you by the end of the day.”
“Casey didn’t send those over? Fucking intern. I’ll have them to you today.”
This asshole is my favorite. It’s literally like talking to a child. The words go in one ear and out the other. This person doesn’t last very long because the project manager is only as good as the people that support him and while I can’t directly fire people I can point at the dumbest jerk-off in the room and give my recommendation. I can’t do what a developer does so I need them to be on top of their game to get shit done. If I can’t rely on you then the client can’t rely on me and that cannot happen.
The best is when you delegate a task to someone on the client side and then they don’t deliver by the due date. Those conversations always go so well with the client.
Call from client: “Peter, it’s Rich. How you doing?”
“Great, Rich.” Client does not ask me how I am doing; I can already tell how this conversation will end.
“Glad to hear, Peter. I was calling just to see if you were able to wrap up those loose ends we discussed last week. I know you are a busy man and need more time, but we are getting close to our deadline and I would really like to wrap this up as soon as possible.”
“Listen, Rich. When my dad gave me this company it meant that I was CEO. You know what CEO means? It means I don’t have to take shit from anyone. It’ll get done when it’s done!” *Click*
This type of shit does not faze me anymore typically because I have a cushion built into my quote for when, and I mean WHEN, shit hits the fan.
This is why I have always compared project management to baby sitting. You would think that adults don’t constantly need someone in their inbox to give them a little extra motivation to get something done but clearly most do. If you are like myself, you have tough skin from being screamed at all the way up to this point and you’re no stranger to being ignored by both internal and external project teams. It’s all constant ups-and-downs, but at the end of the day you have to bite down on your mouthpiece, chin down, hands up and let them fly..