My experience is that projects that get into trouble very quickly start a discussion about who is to blame. This is neither effective nor does blaming actively contribute to solving the problem. They usually trigger deeper conflicts and general resignation and lead to the loss of the common project objectives. Instead of accepting responsibility for deviations, many people involved try to shift the blame away from themselves and to other people.
I therefore advise every project manager to act quickly when blame begins to be passed on. Settling every question of blame takes time and energy and only takes the stumbling project further off track.
So, what do you do when you, as a project manager, get the buck passed to you?
Keep a clear head, look ahead, and limit the damage by developing alternative solutions that are acceptable to your stakeholders.
- Analyze the current situation
- Find the root cause of the problem
- Develop alternative solutions
- Convince your stakeholders of the added value of the alternatives
As a good project manager, you never play the blame game, but signal to your management that you take responsibility and are solution focused. Quick and thoughtful project decisions lead to a rapid re-establishment of trust in your project and everyone's belief in the joint success of the project.
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PM&C: Competence for your project