Re: PMs - mostly bad
Mr Overlord you're spot on.
But in my experience it's not just the PM - I've worked with some truly excellent ones and I've worked with some who've required their job doing for them.
I believe it's actually a combination of the PM and the lead on the project. You need a lead who is not afraid to do just that - lead. To take accountability and to be vocal enough to push things through and argue a point.
Real world example: I started a new role and my very first day on site, I walked in to be dragged into a major incident call.
It turned out that we (the company I was working for) had rolled out patches to the customers' two primary SQL servers.
At 9am on a Wednesday.
And forgotten to untick the reboot on completion box.
So fast forward a week or so when I am now the architect on the change calls and I instantly make a bunch of enemies by rejecting another change for following week where they wanted to roll out some more patches. In working hours.
When I pushed for an answer as to why in working hours I was eventually told because they didn't like to pay the overtime to do it out of hours.
Funny but when I reminded them all there and then that this approach had cost them a £15k fine just a week before and that they were frankly insane to take that approach, a different one was suddenly agreed on.
The CTO of the customer wanted to be informed of every change in the shared data centre - not to veto them as we made it quite clear he hadn't the power for that - but to at least know up front if there might be any outages.
When he (literally) shouted at me for wasting his time with trivia, I quite calmly reminded him that I was doing him the courtesy of informing him of changes to OUR data centre which HE had requested we do but from that point onwards, if he rose his voice to me or my team without a damn good reason then in future he would be told post-implementation.
All too often I've seen projects if not outright fail, then at least get into difficulty because no one was prepared to be a thorn in the side.