What’s Causing the Problem?
Project managers usually aren’t upper management. They create plans, collect data, and make recommendations to keep projects on track and in budget, but the buck does not stop with them. All those reports and recommendations have to go up the food chain, and when they get there, sometimes, they get lost in the shuffle.
When upper management don’t understand project management basics, they might not understand how a small delay now could become a major cost overrun later. They might not understand the urgency of addressing scope creep, or how to implement changes to accelerate the plan to ensure that the project is delivered on time.
Project managers know that these kinds of problems snowball, getting larger and harder to solve the longer it takes to address them. But when the final say belongs to someone who doesn’t understand any of that, it might take far too long for anything to happen.
It’s not upper management’s fault either. It’s like expecting someone to succeed as a CFO when they’ve never worked in finance. They might be the smartest person in the room, but if they don’t understand the basics, everything will go off the rails very quickly.