7 Lessons of Programme Management

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1. I Don’t Know Where We’re Going But We’re Making Damn Good Time

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Do we have the requirements from the customer? No…..

Do we have a scope for the design? No……

Do we have a preliminary design concept? No…

Do we have a budget? No…..

Do we have a clue what the customer even wants? No…

Do we have a timeline for this project?

Can we have that done yesterday?

Just start doing something anyway, otherwise we’ll look unhelpful……

Faster… Faster… Faster… Stop !!!

Faster… Faster… Faster…. Stop !!!

What’s Taking So @#$% Long !?!?!?

2. Fire, Aim, Ready!

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This is very common in product development, firing blindfolded and in the dark. This is the hope and pray method of product development. If you put enough lead in the air, by damn, you are bound to hit something!!

I’ve seen this too many times too count, cut twice, measure once!

“I cut it three times, and it’s still too short!”

The only thing you learn firing blindfolded in the dark, is that it hurts like hell when you shoot yourself in the foot and it’s always someone else’s fault

3. Too Many Chefs In The Kitchen

cartoon strip reflecing Programme Management and Continuous Improvement

Alpha company and bravo company decided to engage in a boat race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance levels. On the big day both teams were ready to win.

Bravo team won by a mile. Alpha team was discouraged by the loss and morale plummeted. Management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found, so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and recommend corrective action.

The consultant’s findings:

Bravo team had eight people rowing and one person steering.
Alpha team had one person rowing and eight people steering.

After a year of study and millions spent analysing the problem, the consultant firm concluded that too many people were steering and not enough were rowing on alpha team.

So as race day neared again the following year, alpha team’s management structure was completely reorganized.

The new structure:

Four steering managers, three area steering managers, and a new performance review system for the person rowing the boat to provide a work incentive.

The next year, bravo team won by two miles!!!

Humiliated, alpha team laid off the rower for poor performance and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem.

4. Updating The Status Of The Status

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“We need to have a meeting to discuss why your project is behind schedule…….

“I’m busy working…… “

“I’ll see you in ten minutes in the main conference room”

“…… So the reason i scheduled this meeting is to discuss why all of our projects are behind schedule….. And over budget…..”

“I’m going to need that status update by COB….”

“ …I have a suggestion……. Perhaps we could try something called “work” instead of just talking about maybe doing something at some point, sometime in the distant future….. “

“How about we just say that you’re lazy and unmotivated…. “

“We’re going to keep holding meetings until we figure out why we are behind schedule, over budget and no work is getting done”

5. Everything Is Easy Provided You Don’t Have To Do It, And You Don’t Understand It

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“It’s simple, it’s easy, you can have that done in a minute…… everything takes a minute… “

“I need you to build a faster than light spaceship and i need it by the end of the month”

You can give a monkey a scalpel, but that doesn’t make him a surgeon.

6. Budgets, Lies & Bull S**t

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We need to have a meeting to discuss having a meeting to discuss why your budget estimates are too high.“ ….Did I Tell You That Your Project Just Got Approved?

“ ….Did I tell you that your project just got approved?

“What’s my budget ?”

“You don’t have one…..”

“And I’m going to need that 6 weeks sooner for a trade show…..”

“And the scope just doubled…..”

7. The Job Isn’t Done Until You’ve Blamed Someone For All The Parts That Went Wrong

cartoon strip reflecing Programme Management and Continuous Improvement

Agree to everything, do nothing, blame a vendor….. Then shoot the messenger…. You don’t want to leave any witnesses behind.

Just remember, it’s always someone else’s fault, never accept responsibility for anything.

Accountability is just a word leaders use right before the scapegoating begins.

It’s good to be the leader…