S is for… Sponge

The sponge is another example of a PM out of his depth trying to add value to his project.

His project team will be telling this PM there are problems on the project, they will be sending him progress reports coloured in heavily in red felt-tip pen, they will be telling him things like, “We’re going to be late”, or, “We’re easily going to spend double the budget”, or, “We need help!”

The sponge will happily absorb this bad news and report to his management that everything is fine, brilliant in fact. So much so, the Sponge will be looking for more green felt-tip pens in the stationery cupboard. He will blissfully continue in this fashion until the point where he can hide it no more. He thinks he’s keeping the management happy by telling them what they want to hear and will get gold stars and plaudits in return.

Similarly, any criticism and/or bad news, coming from further up the hierarchy, towards his project team will be soaked up by the Sponge and kept from the poor souls on the team. His management will be telling him, “The business are concerned with the lack of progress”, or, “The budget seems a bit tight, do we have enought to complete?”, or, “Are you sure you’ll deliver what we promised on time.” By acting as a Sponge, he thinks he’s protecting his team from the bad press.

At the end of the day, it will all explode in his face. Carnage will ensue, with the finger of blame being pointed at everyone and everything.

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