Like many of my friends, I am a “consultant,” which means I work on “projects” for “clients.” Those clients are typically organizations. My point of contact is usually a “project manager.” I’ve encountered six kinds:

  • Dishrags — Totally passive. See their role as “passing on feedback.” Can’t take a stand and don’t control process. Random problems crop up due to fringe opinion at odd times.
  • Bureaucrats — Burned out, tired. Avoid responsibility by appearing to be responsive.
  • Shotgun — Keep sending everything to everybody. In pursuit of a freewheeling ethos where everyone feels really busy but nothing happens.
  • Meeting Makers — Too collaborative and methodical. Seek consensus on every move through conference calls and meetings. Good . . . but sloooww.
  • Iron Fist — So tightly control the process that no one is sure what is happening. Only point of contact; nothing gets by them. All decisions are theirs. Often surprises from the boss at the end…she or he has not been kept in the loop.
  • Good! — “Sweet Spot” between Iron Fist and Shotgun. They will make decisions, but they know when to bring in others in their organization. They have ownership of the project, but know that it’s not just their show. The project gets done.

No doubt there are more…what kind of project managers have you encountered?