Case #2 - Due Diligence
Martin was assigned as a project manager of a due diligence job that was to be done at a blue chip client. He'd never heard of the words "due diligence", nor been involved in one let alone actually to lead a team doing one. His problem was compounded when he learned that he not only had to be project manager, but was expected to guide the team members in terms of what they had to do. For example, he had to find a list of questions they needed to ask and afterwards collate all the replies.
Martin gamely stuck to his task. He had been promised at the start that the various department heads would supervise the work done but they were too busy with operational work to worry about his project. He found that he ended up representing the project team at the regular client meetings and that meant he had to be very involved in what his team were doing. Despite this effort, Martin's boss became annoyed with him because the pre-project planning had allowed for the project manager to spend only 50% of his time on this project. Martin found that he was working overtime just to finish what was required and that did not include the project manager processes that he should follow.
Fortunately Martin had a good working relationship with his boss and they took time out to try to work out what issues were causing the problems. They decided that the project needed what was eventually called a 'solutions manager', which was an SME who had done this type of project a number of times. Martin was allowed to do 'pure' project management work while the SME made sure that things were going in the correct direction. The cost of the SME meant that the project budget was exceeded but this was approved by the project steering committee that could see that otherwise the project was being jeopardized.
This is an example of someone who was an experienced project manager but lacked content skills. The project would have failed had the project manager not acknowledged that he was not able to cope.