The Project Manager Matter

What you don’t understand is — we were already getting a project manager

Everyone on the team was aware of the PM possibility for weeks, so his claim is outlandish on that alone.

But why he said it is the best part

“I set those wheels in motion” was about what prompted the push for a project manager — on that particular day. I didn’t think that explicit explanation was required in referencing a bombshell of bad news. My part had nothing to do with getting a PM in general, and yet Mike managed to twist it into that — or something.

He was trying to fabricate this fiction that he had not failed at all — that he just needed help and that they decided to get moving on hiring a PM that morning. The idea of getting a project manager had been around for weeks, and suddenly it’s mission critical?

Elara’s size and nature of work did not seem to call for a PM, and the demands put upon us got out of hand mostly because of our own mismanagement. “How about we all do our jobs better?” was more my thinking.

While prioritization of projects was part of the equation for a PM, it seems like an overreaction to things spiraling out of control. I’m of the mindset that maybe we should try to understand how that happened before we jump the gun.

That process of discovery by itself is of enormous value.

And who knows — perhaps by taking a hard look to fully understand the problem — we could solve it all by ourselves.

Wouldn’t that be something

I’ve worked in places where project managers were essential, so I’m a big fan. But the question that these guys never even considered (certainly not Mike, anyway):

Are we hiring a project manager because the business truly necessitates it — or because of Mike’s shortcomings in management?

These are the same guys who didn’t have a good read on what type of resources were needed most when they went overboard on Tableau — as explained in Paint By Numbers. So do you really think their insights were all that sound on the PM front?

A project manager would be of great value (and I was happy to have him) — but the question is about understanding your decisions and how to best utilize them.

Would a good manager have needed a PM in this company?


If you recognize that and hire a project manager — fine, but utilize that reality to puncture Mike’s bubble of faulty beliefs. That way — you get this guy to recognize that he didn’t just “need some help” — he wasn’t doing a good job managing his team.

If I could write SQL all day long, I would

That off-the-cuff comment to the team was telling — as it fits with his focus and the fact that he doesn’t have the drive to be a better manager.

I wish I could write SQL all day long” is not a sign of someone doing any deep thinking about his responsibilities — and his record reflects that.

It’s the same experience I’ve had whenever your mind is made up — regardless of the haphazard nature in which you got there

Maybe he could be a good manager — if he really wanted to manage in the first place.

It’s not that he doesn’t have leadership ability — it’s that he’s not 1/10 of the leader he thinks he is. With Mike’s aptitude, he could probably do anything — if he had the guts to get out of his own way.

A man of your intellect and skill should know better, but your ego gets in the way

Whatever your role, you’ve gotta be willing to be held accountable for your actions and inaction — and it’s in your bests interests to do so. There was not a hint of him taking responsibility for anything that day or any other (not on matters of the magnitude in my story).

Still in a huff from people having the nerve to expect better — his handling of our team meeting that afternoon was not a pretty sight.

When he told the team the news, I asked him if we could be involved in the interviewing of the project manager. Right on cue, he got defensive. My input was good enough for interviewing developers, but not welcome on project managers. Got it.

Had he just said, “Dave and I prefer to handle it” — that’s fine. It’s a different type of role and it’s totally understandable if they prefer to go it alone. I was just asking to be involved (even if only to submit a question or two).

Doubting their ability to find the right person never crossed my mind.

It’s the only thing that crossed Mike’s:

If you don’t think that Dave and I can do a good enough job getting a project manager . . .


To listen to him massage his ego in trying to engineer the best possible look in this mess — the pitiful desperation of it all. It just blows my mind how this man deflects failure at all costs.

When he told the team “I don’t like having my leadership questioned” — truer words were never spoken. It’s all the more absurd when you consider that he once told us that he wants the truth, even if it’s about him.

I was thinking to myself, “You know I’m on the phone, right?”

Nobody could deliver this line better than Pacino — and it perfectly embodies my lifelong battle against those who defend the indefensible.


Jockeying Over Jira: Part I