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How to handle client's inefficient & micro-manager that it impacts project minimally?
A Few resignations and hierarchical changes at client side have resulted in a situation where the newest member in the client team has been asked to work as a project manager. He is junior in experience to many of the your and client team members. The new client project manager lacks project specific knowledge and is not able to understand the processes within the client's environment. He does not seem to have project management background as well looking at his experience.
Your team is not happy with the way he is handling the situation. Micro management is the major issue and communication gap is another. He keeps coordinating with every member individually on the status updates and assignment of work. The team members are unhappy as they end up in explaining him the code level details which sometimes he is not able to understand even after several attempts. The client manager is not being helpful in providing the correct/complete requirements either.
You, as a Project Manager, cannot ask client senior management directly to change their project manager.
How will you handle this situation to ensure minimal impact to the project due to this inexperienced and ineffective client project manager?
Replies to this Topic
You haven't much to do in such a situation. Intervention of client management issue from contractor side is not acceptable by cliant.
Best way is to discuss the issue between higher management of the cliant and contractor
To safe guard the project and to make it successful you need to stand up and inform the client about the progress and challenges. Else you have a risk of Project failure. Tell your senior manager in an convincing way.
It is better to meet him personally via 1-1 meeting with all the data points to either provide proper training to the new PM or change the PM.
I have done the following and has helped me in my projects
- Sensitize my management
- directly give feedback to the new client manager and sensitize the person about the things (not) happening in the project which could cost the project.
Have a direct meeting with the new manager, look at his limitations, try to train him, mentor him. Meanwhile let him work through you .Help him along every point. If he does not understand a line of Code, then it may not be possible for one to teach him. If there is a training program then recommend that to him.
As a last resort talk with upper management. I mean this must be the perspective from the PMI point of view.
Edited Thu, Jun 7, 2012 6:20 AM
Update risk register for this sitjation after evaluation Mitigated by going extra mile with him
He is micro managing because he is not up to par in his position and have not developed trust and comfort zone with team's feedback and responses.
If you don't have any option but to work with him, then; You and the team members need to meet and create a plan to help him, provide him as much info as he needs (and not what you think he needs) give him progress/ status reports, requirement status, provide anything he is asking for before he ask for it in a timely manner.
This is a team effort. The team must understand, this is a team effort and they are all impacted with what they do and how they will support the PM.
Create any chart and details he needs and give it to him on a scheduled and frequent basis.
If the team does not help him then the team is creating the risk and not the new PM.
By making him successful you and your team will also benefit greatly and in time he will learn to relax and trust his new team.
Wow :) The world is full of talents. Very good answers.
I wrote my answer in a notepad well in advance. I wanted to get yours answers and then analyse mine (noted one). My answer was as follows:-
This is an unknown risk to the project and can adversely impact the project if no immediate workaround is identified. So, the earliest workaround could be - "Identify and communicate SPOC (Single Point of Contact) from the vendor team following which the client's manager would only interact with the SPOC and the whole team would be able to focus on the continued work packages as per the project plan.
No one even imagined such kind of situation may come! Trust has been fractured. We shall have to keep the effective communication alive via communicating team's expectation because coming at expectations from a positive standpoint makes productivity soar and effective communication can give the workplace a friendly atmosphere where team members are comfortable and can focus on doing what they do best.
Having regular conversations without the formality of any review could contribute to an atmosphere of confidence. Afterwards, it would be easier for both vendor team and client's manager to discuss concerns and do course correction!
Seeking responses to correct me whereever I'm in my response. Thanks