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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Project Management Failure Stories: Don’t You Have Own Project to Run?


While Dennis the Perceptive definitely had his project to work on he spotted his colleagues struggle with theirs. Fortunately in one of Dennis’ previous jobs he was working on a very similar project and he instantly knew what guys were doing wrong and how they could be helped.

Dennis didn’t thought for a long time and came to his boss with a proposition. He would help his colleagues how to approach their problem. It would take him a day, maybe two. Then he’d be back on his tasks.

He didn’t really ask for these two days to be added to his schedule or something. He just wanted to help.

What he heard as an answer was: “Don’t you have your own project to run? So better focus on that.


This is wrong on so many levels…


A manager rejected investment which would probably earn money in less than week. A couple of days of Dennis’ work would be compensated with much higher productivity of his colleagues. Actually that should be no-brainer.


Dennis wanted to share his knowledge. Knowledge which, as it appeared, wasn’t present in the company. What the manager did was giving up a chance to learn. A chance he got for free. That’s just waste.


Before the story happened Dennis was willing to help. Guess what happened after he talked with the manager. He’s not going to come and tell that a dozen of people are hitting the wall hard with their heads while there is totally simple solution which would spare them the pointless effort. He no longer cares. His willingness has been killed.

Even if the manager had a hard day or it was really a bad moment to discuss Dennis’ idea the reaction just couldn’t be worse. And news like this one spreads fast. It’s not only Dennis who is going to be affected. Pretty much everyone around will be.

Read other project management failure stories.

in: project management, team management

3 comments… add one

  • jfbauer March 31, 2010, 10:36 am

    Pawel, I like your story and I’ve experienced this before. Not sure if it is ego or just an unwillingness to figure out a way, from a management perspective, to allow alternative ideas to be interjected into the project flow for serious consideration.

    Enjoy your perspectives, John

  • Pawel Brodzinski March 31, 2010, 10:56 pm


    It doesn’t really matter why it happened. Whatever are the reasons fo the manager he’s just wrong. If it’s ego that’s even worse since it’s not going to change.

  • Farol March 31, 2010, 11:31 pm

    I’ve seen it so many times, and heard it too. In many companies high management thinks that when someone is trying to improve something that means that he has not enough tasks. This is the idea that the best employee is the one that don’t think but only works on his tasks only. Great killer of team work.

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