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EditorEditor's Note

 

Dear Friends,

 

I read a recent news that there has been an increase of around 12% in the number of sexual harassment complaints reported by the BSE's top 100 listed companies in 2016-2017, Experts believe that there is no reason to be alarmed by the higher numbers as this only indicates better transparency and robustness of the company's internal mechanism to handle such cases. In addition this is an indicator to growing gender equality. I fully agree with this view.

pme September 2017 01.jpg

A few years ago such cases were either swept under the carpet or dealt in an opaque manner and very few reported publicly. More companies reporting also shows growing awareness and compliance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace Act 2013.

Why were sexual harassment cases under reported? Did the objective of under reporting was to accomplish the favorable 'desired' outcome? An outcome that keeps stakeholders happy by giving them a blissful feeling (though incorrect) that everything is fine. It is a gospel truth that 'nothing is wrong' does not necessarily mean everything is right.

As Project Managers (PM), it is a common practice to show the project status as “Green” when in reality it is “Yellow” or even “Red”. This perhaps is to give a 'feel good' factor to the stakeholders. The Yellow / Red status projects are elevated to 'Green' qualified by disclaimers or by some invalid assumptions. In a recent report on 'Managing Troubled Projects', the CEB reported that nearly 75% of organizations report that more than 20% of seemingly healthy projects conceal project problems at their core! at other times, the team reduces the 'scope' that in reality is vital to the product, and move it conveniently to 'phase2' to keep the green light on. These “watermelon projects”, showing 'Green' status on the outside but 'Red' on the inside, typically occur for two reasons.

Organisation culture: The management does not encourage Project Manager(s) (PM) or team members to be transparent and escalate issues as that reflects incompetency.

Incorrect or Inefficient Project Management tools: The status tracking measures are not made robust enough to detect leading indicators of a troubled project.

An astute PM will use data (rather than emotion) to factually represent the status and highlight the variances and proactively seek support. Gold coating may lead into painful realization of the projects inability to deliver the business goals rather late into the game, leading to heartburns, reduced motivation with the inevitable cost escalation and schedule overruns. As a Project Manager, it is our professional duty to be factual, open and honest when reporting the status of the project.

The bottom line: Next time if you do spot any project suddenly turning 'Red' from a consistent 'Green', it may be worthwhile to appreciate that it has nothing to do with PM's inability, but more to do with professional ethics and 'doing the right thing' by presenting 'facts' backed by solid data. This is to be viewed as a definite indication of the intent to pull the project out of the deep woods given timely support by the project sponsors.

Thanks and Best Wishes

Soumen De, PMP

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Happy Reading.

Editorial Team

Himadri S. Chowdhury, PMP
Namita Gupta, PMP, PMI-ACP
Nibu Thomas, PMP
Soumen De, PMP
Tanish Mathur, PMP, PMI-ACP
Vishwanath Thanalapatti, PMP

Technology Support

ramesh2Ramesh Chandra Pathak, PMP -
Your Big opportunity may be right where you are right now!
rajiv2Rajiv Nagarkatti
 
“Laughter is the best medicine,…………………..but not when you have a diarrhea.”

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