I don’t think anyone out there likes to be micromanaged. Well, I’m sure there are some very insecure individuals who need to and may even want to be told the very next move they should make. But those individuals are in the minority and aren’t likely to be part of a skilled, cohesive and successful project team so we’ll skip over them for the purpose of this discussion.
I personally hate being managed closely by a supervisor (and I’m sure I’ve likely been a pretty bad employee when that has happened). It can drive me crazy. And, I’m not interested in, or inclined to, micromanage my direct staff or project resources. I never like to be overburdened with the task of resource management – it can make me a far less productive resource myself and can cause me to be too unfocused. That’s why I personally have always sought to hire employees and to staff projects with resources based on the skills and experience needed to do the job. I like to think that those roles have been filled by very competent individuals – I make that assumption until they prove me wrong. Thankfully, that has rarely been the case.
The downside of micromanaging
There definitely are those individuals who see the need to be involved in everything their employees and project staff are doing. They feel it is their job to micromanage everything and every body. They feel the need to look into nearly every detail of the work that their resources perform. That serves no good purpose – other than possibly to build up their own ego and justify their existence. In the long run it can drive everyone crazy and can definitely take up so much of that manager’s or project manager’s time that he can’t be effective at his PM tasks or other tasks he’s working on. That management style can also serving to undermine the productivity and resourcefulness of the project staff that the PM is overseeing. Creativity gives way to fear and resentment. And I’m fairly certain that fear and resentment is not what you want to see in your project team as you’re trying gain their respect and extract as much productivity from them as possible.
A skilled and experienced project manager should value his project resources for what they are – skilled professionals – and treat them as such. These are the individuals that make things happen on the project – if you let them. Resist the urge to over manage or micro-manage. I’ve seen beaten down employees and project resources who have been under their supervisor’s thumb for far too long and it’s not a pretty sight.
In this first part of the two part series, I’ve covered why I think micromanaging is bad and how it can be a downfall for the project and team. In Part 2, I’ll discuss what I think is the proper way to treat your project resources and customer. I’ll examine what the project manager should be doing for the project, for the team, and for the customer to best take advantage of their skills, bring confidence to the team and customer, and bring success to the project.