THE CASE FOR BANNING MANAGEMENT BY EXCEPTION
I hate management by exception.
See that gorilla in the window. Well, there was a time when it was just a cute little baby gorilla. In fact, it was so tiny it could have been tempting to imagine it wasn’t ‘significant’ enough to count as an exception.
Big mistake. No, huge mistake.
In my experience, management by exception always leads to busted delivery dates. Here’s why.
A bias towards inaction
In other words, letting things slide.
Project managers who favor management by exception tend to gloss over issues.
Instead of asking their team useful questions (such as “What worries you most about this project? What do you think could go wrong?”), they ask themselves lame questions (such as “Is this really a material deviation?”).
In most cases, they conclude that it isn’t, and that the project manager on the other side – that’s me, folks – should “just fix it” because they “don’t have the time” to revise the project plan.
What an admission.
A project manager who doesn’t have time for his project is in the business of rearing baby gorillas. And they won’t remain babies forever.
A bias towards reaction
Management by exception creates a lot of bad exceptions.
In my book, exceptions are good. Dealing with them before they become problems is even better.
A bad exception – now that’s something else.
A bad exception is an exception that could have been avoided with a little old-fashioned commonsense.
Here’s a good example.
“So X, Y, and Z are going to be on holiday in a month’s time? Let’s put our heads together now and decide who will take over.”
Project managers should be looking out for gorillas. Baby ones.
Check out this space next week for more implementation tips – and discover why you may need to examine the size of your dime.