The Harmonious Project Management Trinity

Regardless of the role you play in company projects, you will likely see three primary personalities in the project management and executive teams.  In other words, if you are involved in engineering a product, or managing the development of a new product or service, holding the executive reins of a company with project management, you will likely see individuals with the following three personality drives.  These three primary issues drive their thinking.

1. The “On Time” Person
The time conscience “On Time” person primarily worries about project schedules.  When will each subsystem be finished?  Each milestone?  Each Phase?  And when will the project ship?  This person studies and observes all the team interaction with dates and times in mind.  Is the project going to be late?  If so, what can we do to fix that?  His first suggestions are to defer features for a later release, cut the scope to something more manageable, and to create a smaller, foundational release that can be improved upon later.  In other words, meet the agreed-upon ship dates at all cost, and defer more advanced things until later.

2. The “On Budget” Person
The cost conscience “On Budget” person thinks much like the On Timer.  He thinks primarily about project costs.  Blow the budget by a dollar, and he freaks out!  And since the biggest cost in most project is human resources and salaries, he’s thinking the same thing as the time conscience person, “get the project done on time so you don’t blow my budget.  And if you don’t think you can get it done on time, cut something so my budget isn’t wrecked.”  Time and budget go closely hand in hand.

3. The “Quality” Person
The quality conscience person primarily thinks about the consequences of releasing a bad product.  What will the marketplace say?  How will customers receive it?  And the Press?  It’s hard to recover from bad press or a mainstream revolt against your product.  You could lose millions of dollars just from a Facebook uprising.  It would be far better to spend an extra month getting right, or an extra $100K, than to suffer a marketplace meltdown.

So you see that these personalities can be in conflict from time to time – not exactly harmonious at all times.  The Quality person doesn’t want to witness a total user-base revolt because of a poor product.  The budget person doesn’t want to sink the company in debt.  And the schedule person doesn’t want customers to walk away all because the product took too long to deliver.

The best hope a company has is to recognize that these personalities can all exist in one project management team.  Recognizing each one for its merits goes a long way.  Sometimes people just want their input valued.  The next step is to work together toward mutually agreeable compromise that includes input from each driving force.  Hopefully, the result is a good quality product that doesn’t ruin the company in debt and unresponsiveness.