Solutions for sabotage of project management progress in technology projects

CTOs & CIOs face a major challenge with skills shortage due to lack of available talent pool. They need IT professionals to support their projects. On the other hand, HR tend to be reluctant to deal with IT recruitment companies. This measure is counterproductive, as not being able to fill positions not only sabotages project success or CTO’s & CIO’s KPIs. This affects the HR KPIs for being hesitant in hiring.




Furthermore, in addition to reduced project performance, effects of sabotage behaviour consist of poor employee morale and turnover, loss of clients, and distressed company financials.

It can be a difficult and lengthy process to find the true source of project sabotage or “arson.”


How do you identify and address a project “firefighter” turned saboteur “arsonist”?

1.   They’re known as your best go-to person

HR in such instances like to solely be responsible for the hiring process

How to address this: Advise them that for the sake of the project, company & their own KPI’s they should work together.


2. They are willing to be the single point of contact

The project saboteur could be valuable in managing matters for you, or acting as a mediator. Such strategy enables the “arsonist” to isolate and redirect people they are supervising without communicating what is occurring to the direct project team.

How to address this: Ensure that individual contributors are personally invited to your meetings and practice asking them directly how things are going. I make it a point to schedule a weekly 1 hour “walkabout” the office to casually talk to project team members. Through these interactions I’ve been able to get ahead of major project risks, issues, and concerns that would not have been flagged in a normal status meeting.

3. They subtly blame others or external situations

Project saboteurs, also known as arsonists are generally relatively pretty subtle when attributing on others and are in denial that they have prevented the problem. Such measure of sabotage is easy conduct; it simply involves a failure to provide guidance or required information to team members.


How to address this:   Often, project leaders will side with the saboteur, as the justifications appear to be justified and the saboteur/arsonist has been a credible employee. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to your project and business’ well-being to examine more and talk to extended team members

What do you do once you’ve identified the source of project sabotage?


1)  Have a discussion

If you’re approaching the project saboteur before or after minor transgressions, it’s most effective to conduct an open conversation with this person.
Talk openly and acknowledge the person’s skills, passions, and contributions. Recognize that he or she is a great asset for firefighting in the business but make clear that the business cannot healthily function in a constant state of stress. Present facts about their prior violations, and collaborate with them on what you is your vision in the future.


2)  Enlist them for purpose

Recommend them a unique (guided and supervised) role in leading risk management, or present them with other higher-adrenaline or new opportunities, leveraging their ability to step in and help with genuine project fires or special events, new hires, or training.


3)  Define an exit strategy

Subject upon the seriousness of sabotage, you may want to collect more evidence and work with human resources on an exit strategy for this person. Other employees, customers, and leadership could lose confidence in such person and their tendency for toxic behaviours in the business. In such instance, it’s most effective to remove such employee from the business to prevent poor morale from expanding to the remaining team members.



Upon identifying a saboteur to the project, it’s best to identify this issue and take steps to prevent such a behaviour. Ask us how we can help your organization in dealing with such issue.

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