Engineers Hide Risks

Every project manager knows he must identify project risks, document them, and resolve each one.  In other words, he must learn what could jeapardize the duration, budget, or quality of his project.  If you don’t, the project may fly off the tracks and you’ll look bad, or worse.

Problem is, your engineers are hiding those risks from you.  The fictional dialogue below shows how it happens.  It is a faux conversation between your project manager and one of the engineers on the team.

PM: “I love your new designs!  This project is really coming along.”
Eng: “Uh-huh.” (hoping to be left alone.)
PM: “Do you think you’ll be finished by October.  Big deadline you know!”
Eng: “Of course.” (barely lifting his head.)
PM: “Any risks or unknowns?  How about that integration task?”
Eng: “Nothing I can’t handle.” (peering deeply into the montor.)

Engineer-boy has two problems.  First, he’s a little too independant to admit he needs help.  Secondly, he won’t risk the tarnish to his stellar reputation.  No white-shirt, tie-bearing, non-pierced PM will ever get him to crack.  He’ll work all-nighters if he has to, or so he tells himself.