Avoiding codependent behaviors in projects


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Over work and schedule overruns seem endemic to IT projects-but WHY? This presentation seeks to identify a behavioral reason and offer coping strategies for dealing with the human element in project management when team members exhibit these "bad" behaviors and others "make up" for them thus creating a self-perpetuating pattern of dysfunction.

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Avoiding codependent behaviors in projects

  1. 1. Avoiding Codependent Behaviors in Project Teams By Kenneth Petty, PMP PMI-CIC May 2006Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  2. 2. Codependency in DilbertCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  3. 3. Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  4. 4. Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  5. 5. Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  6. 6. Inspired by… • “When Helping Doesnt Help: Software Testing as Codependent Behavior” By Lee Copeland, Software Quality Engineering • Stickyminds.com http://www.stickyminds.com/sitewide.asp?ObjectId=2275&Function=DETAILBROWSE&ObjectType=COL&sqry=%2AZ%28SM%29%2AJ%28MIXED%29%2AR%28rele vance%29%2AK%28simplesite%29%2AF%28Lee+Copeland%2C+Software+Quality+Engineering+codependent%29%2A&sidx=1&sopp=10&sitewide.asp?sid= 1&sqry=%2AZ%28SM%29%2AJ%28MIXED%29%2AR%28relevance%29%2AK%28simplesite%29%2AF%28Lee+Copeland%2C+Software+Quality+Engineering +codependent%29%2A&sidx=1&sopp=10Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  7. 7. Objectives • Explain what codependency is. • Help you recognize codependent behaviors in others and yourself. • Briefly discuss the negative effects of codependent behaviors. • Offer some avoidance and coping strategies.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  8. 8. What Is Codependency? “A set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned by family members to survive in a family experiencing great emotional pain & stress” (The Johnson Institute)Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  9. 9. What Is Codependency? “A set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviors learned by project team members to survive in a project experiencing great pain and stress”Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  10. 10. • Maladaptive- inability for a person to develop behaviors which get their needs met. • Compulsive - psychological state where a person acts in a manner contrary to their own consciously desired behavior. “ I knew I shouldn’t but I couldn’t help myself.”Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  11. 11. • Learned-to acquire an ability or a skill through experience. • Adaptation to deal with-”great emotional pain and stress.” • GOOD NEWS! Behaviors that are learned can be “unlearned”Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  12. 12. Have I experienced codependent behavior? • “We don’t need all that red-tape. “ • We do our own thing here. You keep the schedule up-to-date and fill out the required forms. ” • “Who has time to plan? We are too busy to plan.” • “We don’t do risk management here.”Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  13. 13. Have I experienced codependent behavior? • “We don’t need requirements.” • We don’t have time to do all that documentation. • We don’t have time to do change control. That is just useless overhead. • You start coding and we’ll get the requirements to you in a few weeks.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  14. 14. Three legged RaceCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  15. 15. Have I experienced codependent behavior? • Worked late nights/weekends to meet deadlines due to: • Accepting more work than I had time to do. (“I just can’t say ‘No’.”) • Doing work someone else was supposed to have done but didn’t (“I’m a team player.”) • Well known and foreseen risks were ignored until a crisis developed.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  16. 16. Have I experienced codependent behavior? • Redrafted/rebaselined a project schedule because: • Team members woefully underestimated their task durations. • Team members have slipped delivery dates repeatedly due to more “urgent” tasks taking precedence, even though they could have waited. • Team members deliverables were 90% done for several weeks-until delivery was expected and they were NOT 90% done. • Interim deliverables are “done” in advance of their delivery date, then they are declared not “done-DONE.”Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  17. 17. Roles in Codependency •Addict •Enabler •VictimCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  18. 18. The Addict • This is the individual (or individuals) that has the addiction and causes the stress and pain for the team. • Examples: • Cowboy • Distracted • Over-Achiever • PerfectionistCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  19. 19. Cowboy •Feel entirely self-contained and that whatever they do has no effect on anyone else. •They tend to be combative and will strongly reject any attempt to impose a new behavioral model on them. •They do not care if people like them or like working with them. •Their own autonomy overshadows any need to meet group norms.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  20. 20. Cowboy •The negative feelings their behavior engenders from their teammates can even be seen as “jealousy” or “envy.” •Preserving their power over their work lives is paramount. •They do not share information willingly, but may if a “supplicant” comes to them and asks in the correct manner.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  21. 21. Distracted • Has a hard time staying on task • Likes to “help” others and will often let their tasks slip. • Will suggest added effort not in SOW.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  22. 22. Over Achiever • Feel inadequate • Competent and skilled but wants to demonstrate their skill and ability so much that they look for added opportunities and take on added work aside from what they must do for the project. • Often overload themselves and things can either be delivered with mediocre or marginal quality because they are trying to do too muchCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  23. 23. Perfectionist The “Perfectionist” may deliver things with the utmost quality but they hang on to them far too long to get them “perfect”. They may deliver late for a imperceptible degree of “added quality” and negatively impact the schedule and/or the harmony of the team. Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  24. 24. The Enabler • They have good intentions. They try to take care of a person who is experiencing difficulty, but the caretaking becomes compulsive and defeating. Co-dependents often take on a martyr’s role and become “benefactors” to an individual in need.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  25. 25. The Victim • The problem is that these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual to continue on a destructive course and to become even more dependent on the unhealthy caretaking of the “benefactor.” As this reliance increases, the co- dependent develops a sense of reward and satisfaction from “being needed.” When the caretaking becomes compulsive, the co-dependent feels choiceless and helpless in the relationship, but is unable to break away from the cycle of behavior that causes it. Co-dependents view themselves as victimsCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  26. 26. You Might Be Codependent If.. • You have a tendency to do more than your fair share all the time. • You have a sense of guilt when asserting yourself. • You have a compelling need to control others. • You keep quiet to avoid arguments. • You are always worried about other’s opinions of you.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  27. 27. You Might Be Codependent If.. • You have trouble saying “no” when asked to help. [setting boundaries] • You have trouble asking for help. • You always seem to have so many things going at once you can’t do justice to any of them. • You are hypervigilant. • You frequently suffer from physical maladies related to stress.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  28. 28. Isn’t everyone codependent? • Are people mutually interdependent on one another? Yes. • Should this result in chronic stress and inattention to ones own well- being? No. • The difference is setting limits or boundaries and holding to them.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  29. 29. “We begin tolerating abnormal, unhealthy, and inappropriate behaviors. Then we go one step further, we convince ourselves these behaviors are normal.” (Melody Beattie)Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  30. 30. • Project management should make “common sense” wisdom common knowledge. Then make that common knowledge common practice.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  31. 31. If in the course of your work you consistently overwork and overstress yourself to compensate for the failures of others you are an enabler- you are perpetuating their dysfunctional (harmful) behavior by rescuing them from the consequences of their choices.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  32. 32. Just say “no.” kind of… Risk Avoidance behaviors • Refuse to believe lies. • Overly optimistic schedules • Zero tolerance delivery dates • Delivery dates w/o requirements • Schedule transparency • “War Room” with dashboard • Published weekly/daily updates • Teach team members to embrace an interdependent paradigm. • Develop WBS & Schedule as a team exerciseCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  33. 33. Risk Avoidance behaviors • Good Delegation • What must be done • When must it be done • How must it be done (What does success look like) • How THEIR work impacts others • Follow up steps • Hold people accountable. • Robust risk management. • Trust but verifyCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  34. 34. Coping Behaviors •Observe, document, quantify costs, then present findings as a “Lessons Learned.” •Be assertive but not obstructive. •Help “addicts” confront their addiction and coach them on ways to adapt.Copyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org
  35. 35. Special Thanks To: • Anthony Bell, PMP • David Cottengim, PMP • David Daily, PMP • Bruce Bradbury, PMP • Mike Pennell, PMP • Rick Koen, PMPCopyright Kenneth Petty 2006. kmpetty@computer.org