In the project office we deal with many types of projects all the time. Local Projects, Overseas projects which are outsourced to us, small projects which won’t go over 2 months and fairly big million $ projects. What ever the project we get., we allocate a PM by using the Project Charter in the initiation. Lately I was thinking.. when we assign a Project to a PM, what will happen if the PM doesn’t like that project. Do you think a PM has a choice??? Can he or she refuse the project? What will be the impact?
Recently I was in Pakistan for a Project Implementation meeting, That specific Project Owner (He is a regional manager of the Company with a wealth of credibility) told the users., if you don’t like this system in your heart, it will never be a success ( Hope I understood it right., he was using their native language most of the time).. Ok that’s for the end users.. How about the PM? …. If you are a PM ,what will happen if you don’t like the project in your heart.. Will that project be a success… ? or can you make it a success..
Any way I thought of asking what industry professionals have faced when they are assigned with a project which they do not want to take over, what happens when they refuse a project…. and do they really have a choice…. So following are some of the facts which I have gathered from the industry professionals around the world. ( through IT technical forums and some online PM friends….. and most of them are PMPs)
Most of the Project Managers who are working for government institutes mentioned that they do not have a choice to make, When ever they are assigned with a project they just have to do it.
Independent Project Mangers and Project Consultants who are working for Projectized type of organizations had a totally different opinion to Government PMs. They claimed that there is always a choice, and you should accept the project only if you like the project and if you are confident about the project.
Generally the Permanent staffs of firms who carry Project Manager Designation gave an opinion which was much similar to the PMs work for government institutes. They said that they have to accept the project and do it. There is a very minimal chance for them to refuse a project., Some of them said , how they are having lengthy discussions and arguments with senior managers about "bad" projects and they complained that the management rarely listen….
My personal view is that, when the project charter is issued, its your baby. You have no choice you should give the birth to the baby. But what you should do is., Understand all the issues clearly including all the politics,( remember there should be a very good reason to turn down an Assignment)Build you case. Make a very professional presentation by including the impact to the project due to the issues (very clearly). At last you should mention the predicted probability for the success based on your experience., and then present it to the board., Don't say that you don't like to do the project or to allocate it to somebody else., But say this is what you see in this project and get them to make the decision;. This is a safe and more professional approach, and more than anything… you have already informed your project board about your concerns even if you are to continue with the project.. But only the experienced PMs should try this.. Others .. Try your best and think of it as a good experience…