Dear PM Advisor. Oct 26, 2015

Dear PM Advisor, You've talked about a lot of reasons people should take responsibility on a task level. Reasons why a person should or should not take this responsibility depending on their level of work on the task. But what about if a person is not suited for this responsibility because of the type of person they are?

Concerned in Manchester, NH

Dear Concerned.

In a few previous posts I've written about different personality styles and how personality styles affect their starting and completion of tasks and their likelihood of getting along with other team members. Based on these differences, a good PM will manage these people differently to ensure tasks are completed on time.

While Extroverts will be happy to start tasks, they need motivation and management to ensure they finish. Amiables need a kick-start to ensure they don't procrastinate. Analyticals need to be pulled up for air to ensure they don't analyze a task to death. Bosses need to avoid snap judgments on how to complete the task.

But you are asking whether certain people should be allowed to take responsibility for tasks given their personality. In general, my answer to this would be NO. There is beauty in getting people to volunteer in front of their peers to take responsibility for tasks. They are much more likely to complete this task on schedule simply because of that public commitment. As stated above, they may need to be managed differently to assist in achieving success.

That being said, perhaps you are talking about a person who has a history of being late on everything and you are afraid that giving him responsibility will ensure late delivery. Not his personality style, per se, but his track record. Well, no-one said being a PM was going to be easy. Place these tasks in your bucket of the 20% of the tasks you need to watch out for as being the likely cause of 80% of the delays on this project. Manage these carefully. Do what you need to do to ensure success. But do it with two goals in mind:

One: That the task and the project succeeds.

Two: That the team member learns valuable skills in completing tasks on time and the feeling of accomplishment that goes with a job well done.

That will make it easier the next time you need to work with him.

Good luck,

PM Advisor.

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