Outline for a Book - anybody think this looks interesting? Late And Over-budget, a Real-World Survival Guide for Project Managers

1. The Root of the problem: The Difference Between Dreams and Reality - Life is Wiggly

  • “I have a plan” - “So what?”
    • Planning changes nothing
    • If you don’t have a plan for changing your plan, you don’t have a plan
  • Do the “Chicken Soup Exercise”
    • What is the difference between things you thought about doing and things you actually did?
    • I know I really had the Chicken soup because I spilt it on my shirt
  • A plan is thinking about about having Chicken soup, it isn’t actually having Chicken soup
    • Actually having Chicken soup is a messy business
  • Thought goes in straight lines, real life is “wiggly”

2. Consistency - the Hobgoblin of Little Minds

  • Doing what you say you’re going to do is a powerful human urge
    • If you don’t do what you say you’re going to do, people will think that you’re either mad or evil.
    • Getting other people to “keep their word” is a powerful way of controlling them.
    • People attach huge value to delivering on a plan - even more value than delivering something valuable!

3. We are after all NOT Professionals

  • The Cynefin Framework
    • Simple - Journeymen (but does this kind of work really exist?)
    • Complicated - Craftsmen, Professionals
    • Complex - Consultants
    • Chaotic - Artists, Researchers, Philosophers
  • To be Good at your Job, you must realise that you are not good at your job
    • Bullies, psychopaths and other senior management will try to trick you into thinking you should be good at your job, it makes you easier to manipulate
  • What you CAN do, Reporting, Sorting, Counting and enabling the 3Ts (Talking, Thinking, Typing) a set of rules you CAN commit to
    • A clean, well-lighted place
    • This really isn’t rocket science
    • Stop trying

4. A Beautiful Mind and the Buckaroo Project (Junking your project for fun and profit - actually, misery and loss)

  • Projects tend to get given work until they start to break
  • Projects tend to have their resources stretched temporally and geographically until they start to break
  • Most development teams start off broken, if you get them working, someone will break them
    • Table 2’s Butter Bean - if you prod it and play with it, it will die
  • This is probably something to do with John Nash and equilibria

5. The Power of Negative Thinking

  • Everyone (i.e. idiots) hates short-sellers
  • What project management is not
    • No military metaphors please
    • "Trying hard", I mean, seriously, that's your "strategy."
    • Delivering value and discovering value vs delivering on a plan
  • Level 0 people management
  • The art of the possible
    • People in glass houses shouldn’t order custom-built windows
  • Noticing things
    • Letting your petri dish go mouldy
    • Playing with the goo on the pressure chamber floor
    • Do you know funny thing about this angina drug?

196 views and 1 response

  • Jul 3 2012, 11:30 AM
    SueDavis68 (Twitter) responded:
    I'd buy it! Trying hard to convince current client that the plan may change - and that's OK.