Thursday thoughts

What I’m working on currently I had believed I wouldn’t do again as project management has become such a specialised and rarefied field. Too much of the detail required has always seemed to me to be an overkill.

Working back in the field I am daily surprised by someone saying, “You aren’t doing what our previous project manager did. I like what you do.”

Yesterday I was asked about running another project like this, only a whole lot bigger. There is already a smaller one being sold.

I’m beginning to realise that the project management field seems to have stifled itself. Too much attention to the form and structure of the controls. That means no-one is making sure that all which needs to be done is going to be done.

The IT world has become more and more complex, yet for many there is a belief you just buy something, plug it in and it works. There seems little conceptual understanding of what is a commodity that will just come out of the box and work with everything else, and what bits need some planning and effort to seamlessly fit in.

It’s rather like the difference between doing a jigsaw puzzle and creating a multi-medium work of art.

With the jigsaw puzzle; there are exactly the correct number of parts and they all do fit together,

Creating the multi-medium work of art, You don’t know all the rules, yet the laws of gravity and such will constrain you and make you work within the limits, you don’t know all the bits you may need, until you do the planning.

What I’m doing is working out ALL that needs to be done, and then pushing people to make sure it IS being done. Somewhere in the background I’m trying to fill in the gaps between what people did the previous time (yes this is a second pass at it), what they did well, what they did badly and what they didn’t do at all.

I spent yesterday morning shocked at some of the previous documentation. It’s incomplete, biased and in a few places trying to make one document cover the roles of many documents.

After all you wouldn’t file in a recipe folder the recipe for banana bread, the knitting pattern for a jersey, the dimensions required for a tablecloth, the cubic meters of lawn-dressing you want this spring, and a love poem to give to your husband next Valentine’s day. Or would you?

Going back over what people think of as good and adequate, and unpacking it to find the truth takes longer than starting from scratch in many ways. No wonder I am exhausted.


13 thoughts on “Thursday thoughts

  1. I, for one, am very impresed at what you are able to do and accomplish! It is a very extraordinary and much-needed gift that you have. I am not at all surprised to learn that your co-workers are pleased with your work, and grateful to boot!

    Whenever I have been part of a corporate department, and I am asked to chair some sort of committee or other, because I know myself rather well, I generally decline the chairperson role, and ask to be part of the “idea team.” I am one of those people who probably would file all those various items you mentioned in one file. They would all be great ideas or plans, just kept in the file if there were no other “organizational person” out there to find ways to correctly file, implement, and see them to fruition. I’ve always had a mind for ideas, but fall short in the administration area. I have always been grateful that there are people like you out there who can oversee the follow-through. Of course I don’t mean to imply that you are not good at all those things. It’s just that some of us, like I, are not quite so diversified!

    Great post, Sidey! I wish you enough. . .


    1. too many people have ‘ideas’ without any knowledge of what it takes to make them a reality, and a sustainable reality as well.

      and in big IT departments the ‘ideas’ have to all work together or they just add to confusion and chaos, so keeping the ‘big picture’ in sight is something vitally needed

  2. It sounds like you have a pretty complicated job — but that you do it very well. I pride myself on being organized, but lately I’ve found it just easier to create piles with the vague idea that I’ll sort through them ‘sometime’. Perhaps it’s just age — I’d rather be gardening or spending time with loved ones — than trying to keep all my stuff in order. Maybe you could come manage me? LOL

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