“So, tell me, Deana, if the ops manager is manipulating the project schedule, so it looks like we are on-time when we are behind, and if we can’t talk about it in the scheduling meeting, what will eventually happen?” I asked.
“It’s like a rubber band about to snap,” Deana replied. “The ops manager is so overbearing that everyone is terrified to bring it up, except the project manager. And my manager made it clear that if the project manager had a beef with the ops manager, they were to take it up outside the meeting, in private. So, it’s hands-off in the meeting.”
“Does this impact the team?” I wanted to know.
“Of course. How can we fix schedule delays, when the schedule says we are on-time?”
“What will happen?”
“I don’t know. The project manager is about ready to quit. He feels helpless, and no one on the team will support him, or even ask a question about it. More than one meeting got so tense that my manager squashed any kind of meaningful discussion. The rest of the team is whispering about all kinds of rumor-mill stuff at the water cooler.”
“How do you know all this?”
“People are coming to me privately. They feel like they can trust me. I mean, no one is stabbing anyone in the back, but if they are willing to talk about other people behind their back, what are they saying about me behind my back?”
“Why do you think your manager stopped the discussion in the meeting?”
Deana thought for a minute. “I think she was afraid of losing control of the team. I think if she allowed the confrontation to happen in front of the team, it might blow the team apart.”
“Tell me what is happening to the team,” I nodded.
“The team is coming apart anyway,” Deana concluded.