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The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

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11.2. Common situations to expect

There are certain bad situations that inevitably occur on projects. Much of the content in this book is about minimizing the chances of these situations happening, as well as minimizing the severity of them should they occur. But the universe is a difficult place for projects, as there are more ways for things to go wrong than for them to go right. The more projects you work on, the more likely it is you'll experience all of the things listed here and have the chance to learn firsthand how to deal with them.

My first truly difficult situation occurred in 1996, when I was working on the parental control features of IE 3.0, my first major area of responsibility. We were working to support the W3C standard for parental control systems, trying to be the first web browser to do anything significant to make the web "safe." I thought the project was going well, until we had our first review meeting. It was a complete disaster. Of the 10 people there, 9 of them seemed so disappointed by my answers to their questions that they basically stopped listening to me. They were all experienced developers and architects, and their questions were much better than my answers. Everything seemed wrong: people were yelling and my team was demoralized. Ten minutes into the meeting, I knew it was a disaster. Twenty minutes in, I wished I could disappear. When the hour was over, I could barely get up off the floor.

Folks at Microsoft sometimes call this sort of thing ...

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