Last week I published a project management alphabet, and I admit it, I had a hard time coming up with terms for some of the less common letters. I ended up using Zombie Project Management for the letter Z.
So, what is Zombie PM? Does this sound like someone you know?
- They do exactly what they are told without challenging anything
- They don’t come up with original ideas
- They don’t suggest ways to improve the project management processes
- They don’t follow up on actions – they simply assume they will get done
- They update and issue the plan in a format that most of the team can’t read or understand
- They work on projects that deliver no business value
- They go through the motions of being a project manager but without any critical thinking applied
If this sounds like someone you have worked with – you know what Zombie PM is about.
One of my favourite sayings is ‘no plan survives contact with the enemy.’ Zombie Project Managers follow the plan, regardless of the changing environment.
Project management isn’t rocket science, and it shouldn’t be hard to get right. But you do need to apply an element of intelligence and critical thinking to what you do. Projects need to be shepherded along, sponsors don’t always know best, and sometimes you have to suggest that your project is stopped. Zombie Project Managers can’t do this. They operate in a completely text book fashion, without applying any logic, context or thought to how to do things in the most effective way. One of my favourite sayings that we overuse at my company is ‘no plan survives contact with the enemy.’ Zombie Project Managers follow the plan, regardless of the changing environment around them.
Fortunately, most of the people I’ve worked with over the years have been switched on and very un-Zombie. I haven’t come across many Zombie Project Managers, but I know they are out there (cue spooky music). I hope you don’t have any in your organisation, either.
What are the other traits of Zombie Project Managers that you have come across?
Like this image? It’s from BenBlogged.com.