Project Management Basics Project Managers And Silver Bullet Thinkers

Silver bullets are the be all and end all of monster slaying weapons and that’s true in business, too. Subscribing to the silver bullet thinking can kill a great project or business. The magic of the silver bullet doesn’t extend to project management. The solution is rarely single fold and putting all your eggs in one basket can easily cause the project or business to flop. Project manager, even the heads of businesses, can become silver bullet thinkers and not realize it. Project managers can curb their silver pellet thinking by recognizing the hallmarks of silver buckshot mindset.

One Problem, One Solution

If youre looking for one answer to a problem in a project or failing business, youre being caught in the silver bullet trap. Just because one silver bullet kills a werewolf doesnt mean in the real world that one solutionbe it project software, a person or type of trainingis the answer. Its more often that multiple pieces of a solution is the answer. For example, no one person on staff will be solution to the project management issue or the single-handedly stop a business from failing. Even, if that one person has the knowledge and skills to make an impact on the project, how they interact with others on the project factors into the success of the project. The silver bullet solution to the project could very well react badly with the others on the project and cause the whole project to collapse.


Desperateness can cause the silver bullet solution to be too appealing. If your project management issues cause you to look too hard at a single solutionproject management software, person, or change–then you may be subscribing to single bullet thinking. Desperation easily clouds the thinking of even experienced project managers. The project manager may be so involved in the stress of needing results now to bring to the boss or fixing the problem now to get the results to the boss that the silver bullet solution is the one they grasp with all of their hopes and desperation only to find it’s not the be all, end all solution they’ve been told. Desperation does that.

Caught Up In The Hype

Silver bullets often have hype surrounding them. This person was the answer to another project manager’s prayers, so they can be mine. This software has reviews from big businesses saying it helped them, it must help my problem. The hype can easily cause the project manager to become totally engrossed by that solution that even negative reviews don’t phase them. That’s the problem with silver bullet thinking. The hype blinds them to the truth and in project management, that’s a sure way to fail.

Cant See The Forest Through The Trees

The trees–whatever silver bullet you’ve focused on–blind you to the whole situation and the consequences of your solution. Project managers and even business owners see only one solution. For example, their business or project is leaking cash like a sieve, they may see only one solution, such as raise the price of their product. The consequences of this silver bullet can be decreased sales. A good solution to this business dilemma might be to reduce business expenses and reduce the size of their product instead. Choosing that great knowledgeable and skillful person to be on your project management team might seem like the solution, but if they don’t already work in your team’s dynamics your team may ultimately spend too much time fighting each other to get the job done. Don’t let the tree blind you to the whole situation.

The Change Net

Besides finding themselves fixating on one be all, end all project completing solution, project managers afflicted with silver bullet thinking might mind themselves searching for the silver bullet by constantly changing something about the project–new staff, new software, more training, new whatever–on a regular basis. That’s the project manager searching for their silver bullet.
These five signs are all hallmarks of silver bullet thinking. Project managers use them to realize they are looking at a gun with a silver bullet and implement a better, multilayered solution. For example, the project manager might find a great software. Then, have their staff trained, gain experience with the program and then train them some more. Silver bullets are deadly to projects as they are to werewolves and recognizing the signs will help project managers dodge the silver bullet.