Published October 05th, 2016 by

Micromanaging a Project, When is it TOO MUCH?

In a projectized matrix organization, project managers have the strongest autonomy and authority. Under every project manager are co-located team members and resources. This provides project managers the opportunity to manage their teams closely. However, while many good project managers perform best practices in project management, there are those who micromanage.

Micromanaging is a form of mismanagement, which is not good for the organization, the project, and the stakeholders. A micromanaging project manager is likely causing poor team performance and a doomed project.

Identifying the signs of micromanaging is key to early intervention that would save the project from going downhill prematurely.

First, failing to see the big picture. A project manager who can’t see the big picture is destined to fail. Seeing only the details of a project without connecting the dots in a big picture is the most obvious sign that the team is being micromanaged. In the best practices, a project manager is aware of the details of task performance while also keeping abreast of the overall picture.

Second, not delegating tasks. Tasks must be delegated within teams, and every team must be allowed to exercise their responsibility. When a project manager prefers to do things without delegating, there is no point of forming teams. The notion that “I can do it better than you” is merely an illusion and is poor for team morale.

Third, having more status meetings than necessary. Status meetings are necessary, but having too many of them is a waste of everyone’s time and resources. Whenever possible, status information can be reported by email or other real-time technology. Consider using a project management software that provides continuous progress report with a glance to the dashboard.

Fourth, monitoring every team member’s progress very closely but not the overall project’s progress. Monitoring everyone’s small progress closely causes awkwardness and anxiety, which can lead to less productivity. Inducing fear of failure isn’t the way to success. A good project manager motivates team members by creating a relaxed atmosphere where positivity and can-do attitude bring out the best in people.

Fifth, not allowing team members to make any decision. Being a project manager doesn’t mean being perfect and a know-all. Team members have responsibilities, which require them to make necessary decisions. Since most team members have been selected based on their credentials and experiences, it would be for the project’s advantage having them perform optimally by giving them the freedom to decide.

A project manager’s authority and autonomy is a privilege granted by the organization. It should be exercised with a lot of care and awareness to ensure a successful project without micromanaging team members. After all, a project manager is a communicator, who encourages others with positivity, motivation, and best practices.


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Sanket Pai

Head - Product & Customer Experience at Celoxis Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
Sanket Pai is currently heading the Product & Customer Experience team at Celoxis , an all-in-one online project management software. His interests lie in Product Management, Digital Marketing, Business Analysis, Innovation Management, Customer Insights, Research, and Experience through Design Thinking pedagogy and application of Business Design.
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