Schedule Screw Up

My company works on a contract where the amount of money made depends on meetings the schedule. This schedule is a huge Microsoft Project Plan. Management on the project has been telling the staff that it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure they understand the schedule, identify which tasks on the schedule they are responsible for, and ensure we meet the deadlines on the schedule. On the surface that seemed fair enough. So I studied the schedule and found which items I was solely responsible for.

The schedule is not the only thing that dictates what work gets done. Change requests get individually costed, approved, and worked. I found one huge change request that I had significant schedule tasks to complete. However this set of tasks was dependent on the customer making a whole lot of decisions. So I told the top manager that the schedule could not be met based on delays in the customer organization. I was then told that, for this particular set of tasks, the schedule was not accurate. I was assured that the schedule dates for these tasks would be modified later.

As the customer made decisions, a new scheduled was proposed for the tasks assigned to me. My manager asked if the proposed dates could be met. I told him I could make them if I could work exclusively on this task. He put me on it full time. My manager said he would change the master schedule with these new dates. For a second I thought things were coming together. Next thing you know I go to a meeting held by the big project manager. I was informed that management did not like to see tasks behind schedule like the one I was working. That came as a huge surprise since I was hitting all the dates agreed upon between me and my manager.

I guess one problem here was that nobody was giving me a copy of the master schedule. So I got a copy from another manager. Wouldn’t you know it? The master schedule had all the original incorrect dates for my tasks. No wonder it appeared like I was late on all my tasks. I wasted no time and called up a bunch of managers on their cell phones and told them what was up. They said it would be taken care of by my manager. Somehow my manager got busy. So I had to gather up all the evidence of the screw up, sit down with my manager, and force him to fix each of the dates in the master schedule. Hey I can do project management. But I don’t like to. And it is definitely not my job. By pushing schedule responsibility to each individual on the project, it has become my job. Yes this is probably nothing new in the software development world. I do not have to like it though.