I am a new project manager at the company I work in, after a good start, followed by a couple of bad deliverable's my reputation in the firm is starting to become negatively affected.

To cut a long story short, currently managing a poorly set up work stream, inheriting all of the problems that the previous project manager had encountered in the process. Chain of events as follows:

  • Poor handover from previous project manager, leading me to guess work the operating model.

  • Poor operating model, not able to push back on changes at the last minute from Sales affecting the quality of the deliverable. I have flagged this repeatedly to Senior management.

  • After a good start, delivering work consistently, I eventually hit a number of roadblocks which was a result of other parts of the business not doing their job properly. The CMS that the website is hosted on for example suddenly became erratic when deploying work onto it.This created a lot of post live bugs, despite work passing perfectly on test.

My team does not manage the hosting of the web site, it is handled by another team in the business that I do not manage, however, I have now become a scapegoat for all of the problems by Senior management and now starting to be seen as unreliable.

How can I repair my reputation, I am pretty stressed out and feel that I could be supported more given that I have flagged a lot of these issues yet being made a scapegoat.


2 Answers 2


You are a project manager, so much of what you do is contingent on other people getting things done. I don't know how you pitch this to management, but you need to stop saying it's not your fault. Nobody wants to hear that. Sorry, but it is a fact. Things may not be entirely your fault, but that doesn't mean there isn't something that can be done about it. Regardless of how the question is phrased, what they really want to know is, if there is a problem, what are you doing to fix it?

You may not have it in your power or you may just get unlucky and there will be no way to fix a given problem. People want to know that you care, you're going to try and fix it and that you are willing to accept the responsibility to do your best to get it done. Failure is inevitable. How you handle it in the eyes of your boss is what is important. Let them know when there is a problem and that you are working on a solution.

Example: Your test site doesn't match the hosting site perfectly. Have a plan to roll-back your changes. Break up your releases into smaller pieces, so fewer bugs are introduced and those that are can be fixed quickly.

Poor Handover: Maybe you can't fix this one, but you can learn from it. Did you ask enough questions. Suggest contingencies for people who don't keep up their end of the deal. Get use to it. Most projects have problems when they are taken over by a new person.

Last Minute Changes: Set a standard for the quality of the project. Tell management that poor quality is not acceptable. Stop making promises you can't keep. No one wins. You'll get blamed.

Other team hosting the product: Ask that you be given any changes in advance. Ask that the testing environment be kept up to date. If a problem comes up, roll back your changes and ask that your test environment be updated.

If you do this right, it will be the other departments that will start making the excuses.You be the person who keeps looking for answers.


Write up a report on all the issues, with recommendations for fixing them. Present it to senior management.

When people question your ability, or you are being evaluated in future, you can cite this report as evidence of your attempts to improve the situation and how you are doing the best you can with what you have.

  • 2
    Also it would be worth it to propose a better operating model, so that OP can be "able to push back on changes at the last minute from Sales affecting the quality of the deliverable". Scrum for example.
    – Sandra K
    Commented Apr 9, 2018 at 13:55

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