The Cost Of Panic In The PMO

The Cost Of Panic In The PMO

Panic in the project office is never a good thing. Most teams operate under some level of pressure that trends up and down depending on workloads and the nature of the current project portfolio. Garden-variety pressure is healthy, prompting teams to find new ways to increase efficiency and to focus on what’s important. Panic, on the other hand, usually has the opposite effect, stifling progress and undermining the team’s efforts.

Because panic costs the project office in many ways and can ultimately bring a team to its knees, it’s important that PMPs always be on the lookout for these warning signs.

Hand with money


Panic has an enormous impact on productivity and can quickly snowball from one missed deadline to all-out, show-stopping terror. Once panic sets in, team members often find themselves unable to focus their energy on anything other than those items that seem most urgent (even though these may not be the most important tasks on their plate). Those activities that are still moving forward according to the project plan could soon feel panic’s effects, too, as PMPs reprioritize in a last-ditch effort to get things back on track.


One of the first things to take a hit when panic grips the project office is the team’s morale. Panic is stressful and can lead team members to become more inwardly focused. Their communications often become less frequently and may stop entirely before to long. Energy levels fall, sometimes going into a gradual decline but in other instances seeming to drop off a cliff. Sustained panic, where problems in one project sap attention from another project and lead to a landslide effect across the entire portfolio, can pummel morale so badly that key PMPs may decide to seek opportunities elsewhere.



A team that’s in full-blown panic mode has almost zero chance of working together successfully. Self-preservation instincts often kick in, leaving little room for teammates to support one another when problems arise or to share resources if there’s even a hint there might not be enough to go around. The blame game soon begins, with sub-groups pointing fingers every which way. Team members subsequently spend even less effort on the project and instead attempt to save their own skins by trying to make the plethora of problems someone else’s fault. Anyone within the project office who is experiencing challenges in their critical-path activities may also avoid alerting others to the problem out of fear of discipline or simple embarrassment, a situation that further erodes the team’s cohesiveness.

Stakeholder engagement

Panic-stricken PMPs are generally terrible at maintaining strong communication channels, both inside the project office and with the project’s stakeholders. One reason is that the team is completely absorbed in trying to staunch the tide of problems and growing stress. Another is the desire to somehow prevent stakeholders from discovering how badly the project has gone off the rails. Unfortunately, this lack of attention is typically rewarded with diminished engagement and sometimes a complete detachment from the project as end users and sponsors begin to suspect there are serious problems within thePMO.

Executive trust

Panic causes project teams to do all sorts of uncharacteristic things, such as miss multiple deadlines, fail to alert the leadership group to impending trouble, cease outbound communications, and sometimes even misrepresent the status of particularly troubled portions of the project. Executives quickly lose faith in the PMO when it appears the team can no longer be trusted to act as prudent stewards of the organization’s funds and other resources, and the ability to raise support for future projects will almost certainly be in jeopardy.

You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Great Leader

If you can influence and have an impact on others, you’re a leader

By lolly daskal


Many people believe leadership is something that’s conferred along with a title or attained when you direct a a team of people, but true leadership is never about authority or power. It’s about helping others grow, and that’s something anyone can do.

If it’s your desire to influence and have an impact on others, you have leadership qualities. And if you can inspire people to do something they thought they couldn’t do, demonstrate how the impossible is possible, believe in someone when they didn’t believe in themselves, you’re already a leader.

People don’t set out to be great leaders, they set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role or the title, but about influencing others, helping and supporting them.

Here are seven questions to help you gauge your own leadership:

1. Do you act with integrity? Leaders allow their good character to speak for them. If you are the type of person who is consistent in your actions, values, methods, and principles–regardless of who’s watching–and if people know what say you do you will do, and do it to the highest standard, you’re a leader.

2. Are you a great communicator? Great leaders are great communicators. Are you the type of person who likes to share information? To keep people informed and make sure they have all the guidance they need? Do you communicate with openness, candor, and honesty, and without drama or wordiness? You’re a leader.

3. Do you have confidence? Confidence doesn’t always come easy. It’s what you do with your confidence that makes you a leader. If you have the ability to inspire, engage, and empower others, helping them realize they can do things they thought were impossible, you’re a leader.

4. Are you decisive? One of the most basic duties of any leader is to make decisions. True leaders aren’t afraid to make tough calls when circumstances require it. If you are the kind of person who can gather information, make informed decisions quickly without hesitation or second-guessing, and make it work, you’re a leader.

5. Do you have a courageous attitude? A true leader is not afraid to take risks. The bigger the risk, the bigger the payoff. If you’re bold about taking chances, if you can see opportunities, and if you’re willing to start difficult conversations, you’re a leader.

6. Are you a problem solver? Let’s be honest: much of life is problem solving. There’s always something to figure out, some difficulty to resolve, some circumstance to correct. Most people spend their time complaining about problems, but leaders view a problem not as a distraction but as a source of improvement and new opportunities. If you find yourself problem solving, you’re a leader.

7. Are relationships important to you? The foundation of true leadership is the quality of your relationships. Relationships are built on a deep understanding and appreciation of others. They require the capacity to connect on a deep and personal level with others and penetrate beyond the surface with people. When you make relationships important, you’re a leader.

No matter what title you have, no matter where you work, or who you work with–if you’re influencing others and making change happen, you’re a leader.

Communication skill Value: Inspire others

To inspire positive action you must ask first, What message do I want to send and second, How do I want people to feel?
When you inspire others, they experience new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. With your words alone you can help people feel connected to a larger group and mission. You will also help people develop a personal connection with you as their leader.

This is a value that leaders often underestimate.

Your Communication Is Accountable When:
• People are inspired. They go into action to make things happen.
• People re-create your message for others. They use their own words to restate what you want and when you want it.
• People know what is important. They are clear about your priorities and what needs to happen first.
• People are emotionally and intellectually engaged. Your message has tapped both their hearts and minds.



“That’s the problem in a nutshell.” add ,Now it’s up to us to turn this around.”
“This is an issue we must address quickly.” Add: “I’m confident we can do this.”
“We will meet on Friday at 8 a.m. in the conference room.” Add: “Let’s use this time to generate new ideas together.”
• “I haven’t had a chance to read your report.” Add: “I always appreciate how you look at things.”
• “We are facing a number of challenges this next year.” Add: “I’m happy to be on a great team. We’ll need everyone’s thinking and energy.”
• “Good morning. ” Add: “It’s always good to see you.”
• “Here’s the document. Read it and let’s talk.” Add: “I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.”



  • A few years back, 1,500 employees in a variety of work settings were surveyed to find out what they considered to be the most powerful workplace motivator. Their response?

The most powerful workplace motivator?

Recognition ,


and more recognition!



Research tells us that there are three types of conflict:

Task, relationship, and process.

  • Task conflict relates to the content and goals of the work.
  • Relationship conflict focuses on interpersonal relationships.
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  • And process conflict relates to how work gets done.

Conflict is constructive when it improves the quality of decisions, stimulates creativity and innovation, encourages interest and curiosity among group members, provides the medium through which problems can be aired and tensions released, and fosters an environment of self-evaluation and change