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  • Matthew Klinefelter

How Egos Affect Your Project



I was reflecting on a few old projects the other day and a few of the characters I've come across and it dawned on me how some projects have been heavily affected just by the size of peoples egos.


This got me thinking if I've seen it I bet others have aswell. Such a thing can easily contribute the to the outcome of a project. I'm sure we've all come across the "I'm in charge" person on the project...


I'm going to give a couple of examples to demonstrate what I mean.


This was a project I wasn't involved with but was well aware of at the time. There was a works manager on the project that wouldn't let anything happen unless he was fully aware of what was going on. This even included everyone to be inducted. If someone arrived for induction that he wasn't aware of. They were gone, but because of the location people had to be booked in and couldn't return the next day. This went on with deliveries and if anyone wronged him in any way they would be off the job. The project manager couldn't control him and this severely affected the outcome of the job.


This guy had such an Ego that he was in charge he had no problem with affecting the outcome of the project so that he could be in charge. I bet if interviewed he wouldn't see it as his problem. It would be others for not informing him of the plan.


This was a project I was involved with. A construction manager would disregard any information provided by anyone around him. He wouldn't listen to anything a subcontractor told him and would instruct anything he wanted. This went on to bringing in and getting rid of resources almost daily. Moving contractors all around site completely out of sequence because if he could see a spot of land without an excavator on it something was wrong and it was his mission to put this right. He would only focus on what he could see on site and had no regard for the planned sequence.


This guy was in charge and revelled in the power he had to direct people. He would often do this at the top of his voice just to assert his dominance. There was no doubt that this guy thought he was saving the project whereas he was most definitely hindering it.


I remember a project manager once said to me after I offered my opinion on a decision "I'm the project manager you have to do what I tell you". He wasn't wrong, it was his job to manage the project but why should that stop anyone throwing in their 2 pennies.


In my past I've only ever encountered Egos negatively affecting the outcome of a project. The ones without overpowering egos (because there will always be some) have gone a lot better. Now I'm not suggesting that Egos on their own determine the outcome of a project but the certainly go a long way to towards the end result.


Have a think back through your past and see if you agree.


So what does this have to do with planning since that what I write about? Well I think this goes to prove that there are always some things you cant plan for. If someone asked you to allow for an ego manic on the project how would you change the programme! Good luck showing and justifying that. The only way to do this would be to take account of the asbuilt impact to forecast future impact.


Now that you've all had time to reflect on the people you've come across in your career have a look back at the top image of Einstein. How true is that quote?


I think he was pretty spot on.

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