Managing a project isn't the easiest job in the world. I work on projects because I LOVE the process of seeing someone's vision come to life. Alas! Every job comes with downsides and I wanted to share some things that annoy Project Managers.
1. Missing your deadline—and not telling me about it.
"Project managers live in the middle, right smack-dab in between clients, managers, co-workers, and vendors. As such, we’re often charged with the dicey task of committing other people’s dates to just about everyone. Failing to meet your committed deadline without fair warning is awkward, makes the team look bad, and puts me in Reputation Rescue Mode – my reputation, your reputation, and the company’s reputation as well.
Variation on a theme: Telling me at 4:45 p.m. that your deadline is toast. Thanks for saving me the trouble of asking, but I can’t do anything constructive now – except maybe call in sick tomorrow." - Kelly Rossi
2. Project managers seem to remember everything.
"Yup, we do. Because our butt is on the line for everything, we tend to remember every last detail (and we can dig out your e-mail from 6 months ago to prove it). We are like people who have endured a traumatic event - every minor detail is burned into our brains." - Melissa D
3. Over-caffeinated overachievers.
"Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington once told ABC News that she gets annoyed by those who brag about working around the clock. Pulling an all-nighter to finish an assignment can be an indication of inefficiency and poor planning. And people who stay up all night to complete a task are probably not delivering the best results." - Jack Nevison
4. When plans aren't followed.
"One thing that drives project managers crazy is when plans aren’t followed. Of course, things change and you need to adapt, but often PMs need to coordinate logistics between many departments. It drives us crazy when, after months of planning, someone changes the plan and you’re forced to hustle and fix it. I was coordinating the company’s transition from their email server to new Google Apps emails. For large companies, this can be a difficult process because of the logistics involved in migrating over older emails. For months we planned how we would implement this through the company. We made clear deadlines and plans. One morning the owner comes in and pushes up the time table. After 2 months of planning, we needed to migrate everything over the next week. We ended up pulling it off but I have since found my pet peeve—unnecessarily ruining a plan. Many issues, hurdles, and errors can be mitigated with proper planning. It’s obviously not always the case, but more often than not when you coordinate between different departments, planning is crucial." - Ethan Wasserman
5. Requiring verbal foreplay.
"Project Managers don't care about the niceties of social interactions. I actually heard someone tell a project manager that they needed some "verbal foreplay" before jumping into all the work talk. Seriously, while we are asking about your kid's stupid play, all we are thinking about is how long do we have to endure the boring chatter until we can finally ask when the heck your report is going to be done and many times, our insincerity shows." - Melissa D
6. Not knowing how to use a computer.
"Admittedly not everyone is good with a PC, or knows their way around 100% of the functions available in the basic word processing programs. However, PMs [on the Rosetta Translation team] do expect translations to come back in a sensible format, the document retaining as much of the original layout and formatting as is feasibly possible. This is often not the case, and a lot of valuable time is wasted trying to rectify this in-house. With the advancements in technology and in the industry, all translation is now, more or less, computer based. Translators often forget they should continue their professional development not only in linguistic terms but also in the terms of the technology and tools developed to facilitate their trade." - Rosetta Translation Team
7. Neglecting to report a problem. Part One.
"Project managers are trained to deal with all sorts of problems, from a flu that sweeps through the office to weather delays and hard drive crashes, scope creep, and personnel clashes. But we can’t fix what we don’t know about. I expect to be informed when you hit a mission-critical issue, even if it’s something I can’t personally fix (like a computer crash). Trust me – if it threatens my project, I’ll rattle cages until you get what you need." - Kelly Rossi
8. Neglecting to report a problem. Part Two.
"I go out on a limb with this one, but … if you’re dealing with a personal trial, I’d like to be aware of that at a very high level. A good PM knows that relationships are key in getting a project done, and project managers connect with everyone. So while I really don’t want to know the details of your divorce or the tests your doctor is running, I do want to know if there is something I should know. I don’t like surprises, and I can facilitate more than you think. Use your good professional judgment." - Kelly Rossi
9. Lack of listening and understanding.
"At the beginning of each project, we make it a point to gather all of the stakeholders together and establish clear goals for the job. This creates an environment in which we can fully understand your organization’s needs. With consensus achieved, we propose solutions that integrate the input of those involved." - Brett Meliti
10. Clients who ask you and your team “to work this weekend so you can deliver on Monday morning.”
"PM’s have many great skills but groveling is one we prefer not to use so if you can give us a little notice, even a day, it would be much appreciated!" - Paula Dieli
11. Project management documents are viewed as irrelevant.
"Project Managers create tons of documents that no one cares about. Wrong, WE care. Project plans, minutes, risk logs, communications management plan, charters, lessons learned, requirements documents - they are anxiety control for us. This is all the crazy stuff that is in our head. I am sure some psychologist a long time ago made a project manager start writing this stuff down as a therapeutic exercise. The only problem was the project manager was supposed to rip it up and throw it away instead of killing 10 trees to make enough copies of it all to pass out at every meeting." - Melissa D
12. We don't need much, just the occasional 'Thank You' will suffice.
"PMs try and keep everyone happy, and despite often unrealistic demands from clients we try and accommodate requests as far as possible. We value our relationships with individual and corporate clients alike and so will always try and go the extra mile if this is feasibly possible. This may involve staying late, missing lunch or letting non urgent work fall to the bottom of the priority list, which can be stressful at times! If PMs do go over and above their call of duty a simple ‘thank you’ is all it takes to cement an on-going business relationship. Rudeness or ignorance, even, is unlikely to encourage PMs to volunteer the same customer service again." - Rosetta Translation Team
To my fellow PMs, good luck on your projects!
Are you a PM? What are your pet peeves?
Do you work with PMs? What are your pet peeves about us?
Share your pet peeves in the comments below.