Project teams behaving badly

2 surefire ways to know if a project team has "jumped the shark" and will end badly (association with these projects may prove to be career-limiting):

1. The first key deliverable of a project team behaving badly is a logo and slogan for the project. Bad enough if the team and steering committee members waste time and burn through agendas dreaming one up. Worse still if there’s a company-wide logo competition. The only design-challenged folks who’ll submit a logo are the ones who don’t have enough to do or who don’t want to do what they’re getting paid to do. The rest of us with too much work to do will have zero interest and no use for the competion or your project.

2. The second key deliverable is a super-sized PowerPoint presentation (min. 30 slides) complete with charts, tables, a chronology going back at least 10 years, no fewer than 12 objectives (including "to raise awareness among staff") and terms of reference for the project team. Bonus marks if at least 3 slides are dedicated to letting the world know who’s on the project team and who’s on the steering committee. If you can’t explain your project in a 10-minute pitch without PowerPoint and nothing more than 2 slides or a one-page handout, you’re in trouble. And everyone will know it and no one will pay attention.

The best project teams are the ones that focus on getting the job done as effectively and as efficiently as possible. The team and committee don’t waste time, don’t want their 15-minutes of organizational fame and don’t need constant care and feeding by senior management. And instead of telling folks what they’re going to do, they report on what they’ve accomplished. Just do it, without the logo or the "look at us" PowerPoint.

Published by

Jay Robb

I've reviewed more than 500 business books for the Hamilton Spectator since 1999 and worked in public relations since 1993.

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