I keep digesting the experiences I make in my every day life as project manager. Here another one. I am managing a big software project in a really good environment. The work relationships are great, no red tape, no big issues so far. We split the project (which indeed is one unit) up into 2 sub projects. The reason was that the project in its entirety seemed a bit much for just one project manager. By doing that we basically have 2 project managers and one program manager as head of the PM team. Each project manager has his own team working on the modules he is responsible for. So far so good.
The project is high pressure and high profile. Now the 2 teams start to get into the stage where they develop on modules that become more and more dependent on each others. The teams are culturally very different and it would be very hard to create real communication (directly from team member of team one to team member of team two). This obviously creates friction. Every little bug is escalated and changes that would have taken only minutes to fix create hours of discussions.
I am not sure how to tackle this situation. I have lead many projects but in every one I have been the sole project manager carrying all responsibility and accountability. Sure, I worked under program managers before but I was always the one entirely responsible for the day to day decision, leading the project team.
Taking over the entire project is not feasible as it is too far progressed and it would be very hard for me to get deep enough into the development of the other team. The same might be true for the other project manager. I am happy to step down and have one leader but I am not sure if that is a good solution. We both are in very deep and though on a personal level we all get along great, small fights are emerging about bugs, bug fixes, who is responsible and who is to blame.
This becomes really counterproductive and is stressing communication and relationships on all levels of the team. Add tight time and cost constraints and you get the picture.
I thought about using a mediator. Using a senior PM team member to decide in cases of overlap, but that seems to be quite an overkill.
Challenges are there to be overcome and this one is an interesting one. I am sure we will come together and find a solution in the end but at the moment it looks like: Lesson learned – a project should only have one PM. This is consistent with PMI and PRINCE2 and I begin to understand why.
I guess I wrote this mainly to get it out of my head and work through it but even while I am writing this I can not think of a solution. The issues will become more severe and I fear for the entire project. What to do?
If anyone has suggestions or experienced a similar situation, please help.
In any case, I will update this post to inform everyone how it went.