The Pessimist

Project Manager that has concluded that the project will fail, cannot be convinced otherwise, and is vocal about their belief.

  • Can mutate into: “The Delusional” Project Manager
  • Dangerous when coupled with: “The Alarmist” QA
  • Likelihood of fixing: None
  • Danger to project: Extremely High


Most software development projects fail by one measure or another:

  • They go over their staffing budget.
  • They miss their delivery dates.
  • They cannot deliver all the functionality required.
  • The resulting system has performance, stability, or scalability issues.
  • They have a large number of bugs upon completion.

In the real world, this is to be expected, and at times embraced as an unavoidable reality. The Pessimist Project Manager, however, has held the project to such a standard that the project cannot meet it, and therefore have declared a project a failure well in advance of the project actually failing.

The Pessimist Project Manager is easy to spot as they have two defining characteristics:

  1. They have cherry-picked the project status information to focus on the negative, ignoring or discounting any positive signs.
  2. They are passionate in their delivery, which is often full of emotional drama.

Their attitude can convince the project stakeholders that the project has no hope of being delivered, leading directly to project cancellation.


The Pessimist Project Manager is impossible to fix, as they are often unhappy in their personal life, job responsibilities, career path, or the company itself. As such, their negativity has nothing to do with the project itself, and is instead a personal problem. The best that can be done is to offer a combination of career and life counseling, which few companies are willing to do. This leads to the often inevitable conclusion of them leaving, or the company firing them.

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