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Aburns1

Weak PM

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Hi All,

this is probably a bizarre post but I’ll reach out anyway. We have a PM on a large contract that is weak. He was thrust into the role a little over a year ago when the former PM left abruptly, it is not lost on me that he did not apply for the spot, although he did want it, he would have flourished working as a deputy PM under a seasoned PM. The problem I am having is that on paper he isn’t doing a bad job, we are meeting all deliverables, moral is good, customer is happy.. Where I struggle is in the details with him, messages get relayed incorrectly, he doesn’t like to take ownership of decisions and he doesn’t seem to understand my intent for the program. I am going to sit down with him next week and have a hard conversation and clearly define my expectations.

Any advice you’d like to share from similar situations?? TIA!

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15 hours ago, Aburns1 said:

We are a company, this PM falls under me In our organization, I am our Company’s Ops Manager

Did you have a conversation with the PM outlining your expectations when he was appointed to the position?  If not, how was he to know your expectations?  Also, since he reports to you, did you select him for the position?  Perhaps you need to do a little sole searching of your own in regard to how you are managing this individual.

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51 minutes ago, Retreadfed said:

Did you have a conversation with the PM outlining your expectations when he was appointed to the position?  If not, how was he to know your expectations?  Also, since he reports to you, did you select him for the position?  Perhaps you need to do a little sole searching of your own in regard to how you are managing this individual.

Yes, soul searching indeed. I’m certainly not blameless in this, and to answer your question, I did not choose him for this program, the owner of the company did. There are many complex factors that make this scenario difficult, one of which is that we are on the East Coast and this Program is operating on the West Coast. 

Im flying out there in a couple weeks and going to outline my expectations going forward, so if things do not improve I will know he was given the guidance needed to succeed but was not up to the challenge. 

 

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2 minutes ago, Aburns1 said:

I did not choose him for this program, the owner of the company did.

Sounds like you may have an internal political problem if you have to tell the owner of the company that he potentially made a mistake in regard to this appointment.

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 The following is based on what I would want on the receiving end. I am not specifically seen as a qualified management guru or HR expert, so feel free to discount anything I say, but here it is:

1.       I would explain that I would like to talk about what the company owner's view is regarding goals, objectives, approaches and so forth.

2.        Make sure you convey that accurately.

3.       Explain your approach to implementing the owner's view but make it clear that you are (I hope) flexible enough to go along with different approaches that accomplish the owner's view.

4.       I personally would hate hearing conclusions, like “you are weak.” I do like to hear concrete examples of what or how I did something, why this was viewed by you as not fully supportive of the owner's view and/or your view. Listen to my explanation and then respond with alternative approaches on how or what you would have done, and why. If my approach now seems to be ok, say so!

5.       Consider the possibility that East Coast and West Coast may have different styles.

6.       Set some mutual goals, agendas and regular review dates to keep in touch “just because,” if not previously established.

7.       After, break bread and maybe have a drink or two.

Best of good fortune to the three of you!

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On 4/19/2019 at 8:14 PM, Aburns1 said:

We are a company, this PM falls under me In our organization, I am our Company’s Ops Manager

You asked for advice from mostly anonymous people on a message board about what to do with your subordinate PM employee because you're nervous or unsure about an upcoming meeting with the subordinate, how to manage his performance, the internal politics of your company, and the subordinate's influence with the owner. 

...and you call the subordinate PM weak?

Good on you for saying that you will have a "hard" conversation and be explicit and direct about your expectations, but the subordinate PM does not seem weak in this scenario... 

 

 

 

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