Jag Venugopal's Blog

May 18, 2009

Truth and Candor on projects

Filed under: Management,Project Management — Jag @ 9:48 pm

Why would I make such a big fuss of something as obvious? Its because I’ve seen experienced, well-meaning people break this rule so many times. This can take one of the following forms:
The project is falling way behind target, and the project manager is afraid of telling the truth. He resorts to telling the client that all is well while praying for a miracle to occur. Bob Wysocki calls this “hope creep”.

The project manager sees telling the truth as an admission of failure and spins the situation in any of a thousand different ways. The more vicious ones find a scapegoat — either another person or a linked project that is blamed as the cause of the delay.

The customer is pretty smart, and can inevitably figure out when your nose is growing longer. The customer may be irritated when you tell her that her project is going to take longer; but that is nothing compared to the harm you cause your credibility if you’re caught lying (and all liars are eventually caught). It takes some time and savvy to both tell the truth and survive long enough for the customer to know and appreciate your straightforward nature. But once the trust is built, it becomes a very powerful force in your favor.


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