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Which Fictional Character Would Make the Worst Project Manager?

homer-simpsonIt can be confusing to read about all of the skills and personality traits which you need to be a great project manager, can’t it? After all, is it possible that one person can embody all of the things you need to be in order to do this job?

Let’s look at in a different way and check out a few fictional characters who definitely couldn’t do this.

David Brent – The Office

I had to start off with our old friend David Brent because he would make one of the worst project managers in the world without doubt. I realise that there is a different version of this show in the US but I imagine he is the same sort of bumbling, arrogant, hopeless twit which Ricky Gervais brilliantly portrays in the UK version. His people skills are nil, his presentations are as cringe inducing as his dancing and he doesn’t actually ever seem to do any work either. If this guy was put in charge of an important project it would be a complete disaster. In fact, I can’t think of one good project manager attribute he possesses.

Sherlock Holmes

I used to love reading the Sherlock Holmes books when I was a kid and the films were pretty good as well. His biggest advantage in the project world would be that he is probably the best problem solver in history. As he said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”. With this sort of ruthless logic there would be no issue big or small which he failed to crack at work. Of course, he is a bit of a loner, has no social skills, is arrogant and his treatment of project assistant Watson is deplorable. Still, I love the idea of walking past his desk and seeing him there, lost in thought, smoking his pipe and playing that wretched violin.

Doctor House

I got the shock of my life the first time I saw this show. I had been out of the UK and when I got back in the country one of the first shows I saw on the TV had this handsome, suave American doctor on it. Hang on though, he looked an awful lot like the geeky, stupid English fool who appeared on Blackadder with the guy who is now Mr Bean. He underwent an amazing transformation in a short period of time but is he the perfect project manager? I haven’t seen a lot of the show but I believe that he is very like Holmes in that he has a brilliant analytical mind but a terrible way of speaking to people. His stakeholders and team members would hate him, wouldn’t they?

Homer Simpson

Isn’t it time Homer got a new job away from that nuclear plant? Can you imagine if you walked into your project office one day and saw this guy sitting with his dirty feet on the project plan while he eats a big box full of doughnuts? Not only would the project fail spectacularly with him on board but he would probably burn down the building, crash the bosses car and get in trouble with the cops. Things would be even worse if his kid turned up at the office one day.

Joey Tribbiani – Friends

I chose Joey because he is the opposite of a couple of the other characters on here. He gets on with just about everyone and would be sure to make a lot of, well, friends, on his projects. The big problem with Joey – and I would hate to be too blunt about this – is that he just isn’t very bright. Of course, when he gets asked a difficult question in a project meeting he can fall back on his method acting techniques to appear lost in thought. If all else fails and the project falls apart he won’t even need the tweezers in his pocket to show his feelings. In fact, if you really wanted to mess up a project you could get all of the friends characters involved in it and really cause mayhem.

You know, once I started writing this I got really stuck in trying to come up with a fictional character who could be a brilliant project manager. None of them seemed to have the right mixture of analytical skills, a professional approach, the ability to lead a team and to keep calm under pressure.  Perhaps great project managers only really exist in real life.

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