A Man and His Thoughts

The random thoughts of a common man

Observations of Project Personalities

Working in the Information Technology industry I am involved in many projects of varying sizes and as a result I spend a large amount of time in project meetings. Through observing the various participants I have noticed that there are always a handful of specific personality types represented, regardless of the project. Almost each one has a role to fill and the project is better for having them so I will list each type (with my own unique moniker) and the role that they play.

The Bomb Dropper – Usually a director or manager, they will listen to all of the discussions and options presented and then, at the end, drop the bomb. It is usually that there is no money left in that year’s budget, there are other projects that coincide that will consume resources, etc.

The Authority – This is an individual that has a broad knowledge of everything. If there are questions or concerns this is the person everyone looks to for answers. The Authority is a solid presence, not a know-it-all.

The Naysayer – The Naysayer is the proverbial fly in the ointment meaning that they always see the negative side of things. This role is crucial because they spot the chinks in the armor and the potential pitfalls.

The Sponge -This person doesn’t speak much but you can see the wheels turning and you know that they are soaking in everything being said. When they do speak you can bet they put a lot of thought behind what they are saying.

The Subject Matter Expert – Just as the name implies, they tend to know a lot about one particular subject and keep quiet until they are needed. They provide the details of their niche that others either don’t know or would not consider.

The Wayfarer – Traveling from meeting to meeting, the Wayfarer seems to show up everywhere but never really contributes anything directly. I’ve found that often they contribute behind the scenes after meetings have taken place. For example, someone from Purchasing who works on contracts.

The Blowhard – I think this name speaks for itself. Generally, they only think they know it all and when they speak, those who actually are in tune with the project can see that they are blowing smoke and don’t really have a clue. The sad thing is that these people are usually highly intelligent and if they narrowed their focus they could be a big contributor to the project.

The Rambler – My favorite and least favorite type at the same time. The Rambler wants everyone to think that he is contributing so he talks frequently and often agrees with others verbally. If you pay attention, however, you will notice that the Rambler is often just repeating what others have already said, just changing the words to make it his own. In reality they don’t contribute anything original. They are VERY entertaining!

Having each of these unique individuals may or may not help the project overall but it certainly makes for good people watching!


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This entry was posted on September 21, 2013 by in Observations.
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