Project success is what a project manager desire and what they strive for. But not all projects are successful. Project failure can be viewed as the Dark Side of project management. Our definition of the project failure is when a project is canceled. Project cancellations are not all bad, sometimes things change and the result is that the project is canceled. But when the project is canceled for other reasons then this, it could be represented as the “Dark Side”.
You may know the story of Dart Vader in Star Wars; he was Anakin Skywalker and a Jedi knight. Because of fear He was tempted to go to the Dark Side.
At the core of the Dark Side is fear. Fear of failure, fear of looking bad or stupid, fear of the boss or fear of the client or customer. A project can do without a lot of things, but one thing it cannot survive without is honesty. Team members and project managers need to be honest to avoid the dark side. You cannot afford to go to the Dark Side, by being dishonest and acting in fear.
Losing your cool and emotional outburst can take you to the Dark Side. You have to know your emotional IQ and the emotional IQ of others to avoid going to the Dark Side. On one project, I was tempted to go to the Dark Side. The project manager for the vendor was very rude and moody one morning. I was headed for the Dark Side, because, I wanted to call her boss and have her removed from the project. Instead, I cooled down, she came in to apologizes and the project went on to be a success.
In the winter Olympic in Canada, one of the Athletes died during the first days of the Olympic. The CEO, John Furlong and all the 100,000s of volunteers could have given up. But John changed his approach, moved from the tragedy of the event and went on to put on one of the Best Winter Olympic games in history.
We can also go to the Dark Side, by not conducting risk management properly. Risk events will occur; what you will do about them? Handle them properly or go to the Dark Side.
Be honest to others on your project team, be trustworthy in your relationship with others, motivate you team when times and circumstance seems to difficult. When you can stay up, when everything else looks likes it going downhill, you can stay away and avoid the Dark Side.