This is Christmas Eve. And this project has to start.
We mean: NOW! It is an emergency and a priority.
It is time to get ready for this ultimate project that makes any Ironman competition looks like a walk in the park.
Someone has to deliver billions of gifts.
And imagine the constraints:
- Time: It has to be done on December 24, in time for Christmas. No Plan B allowed.
- Risk: No Risk Management excuse. Cannot simply write like courier services “Delayed, because of adverse weather condition”
- Quality: Imagine the consequences and tears if the job is done badly!
- Scope: A worldwide event including everybody. Can it be larger than that?
- Resources: Must rely on Reindeers, including one with a red nose, and a sleigh. No technological innovation to the rescue.
- Cost: What do you mean cost? It is to be done. Period. Find a solution.
And then, guess who the Project Sponsor has elected as the Project Manager. Really! Guess who has been chosen to be the PM for this project.
Not you. Not me. And definitely not this Lazy Project Manager. After a long review of the business case, the project Sponsor chose this guy:
Really! I would like to know who is the Sponsor for this project. Alas! No one can find the Project Charter! No one can find the Project Management Information System either (often just called the PMIS in the project management community). Maybe they are using a cloud-based project management tool… Who knows? Anyway, do they even have high-speed internet in the North Pole. Because, guess what! To manage this very difficult project, the PM has decided that the best place to do so would be the North Pole.
Well, I guess the guy has a good historical track record. And he has the benefits of lessons learned from the past. It has pulled off this magic feat in the past, and we should trust him to do it again this year. Isn’t trust part of good leadership skills. So… we should trust him, right?
Anyway, we don’t have any other volunteer. We read in the newspaper that the Request For Proposal that was issued last summer did not receive any one single bid. Everybody laughed and said that it cannot be done. Even Superman!
One would think that in 2013, for such a large project, it would be an essential requirement to have as Project Manager someone with credentials and certifications. And more is better. Get someone in with a PMP or a PRINCE2 certification. Despite the name of the book, project management is not that common. We need to make sure the project manager has the proper knowledge. After all, such an emergency is definitely a time that would require all the research, knowledge, tools and techniques available to successfully deliver this project. Use Waterfall or Agile, if you must, but please use something!
The selected PM has none of that. Alas, we cannot even find his resume. And the rumors are that his resume consists only of a long an infinite list of Christmas Projects. He’s a one-project man. No diversified experience of projects of ever-increasing complexity. Nah! Just toys and gifts delivered every year at lightning speed. Always with Reindeers, including the infamous one with a red nose.
No work breakdown structure, no activity dictionary, no documentation, no risk registry, no project management plan, Gantt Chart. Nothing.
He does not even like to delegate. He insists on doing it all on his own. Focusing as a project manager on monitoring and control? No! He will do everything himself during the magical night of Christmas Eve. Even going somehow supposedly through chimneys. Every single gift has to be delivered by him, and only by him. If exhausted, his risk management plan is to rely on milk and cookies left for him by all those kids around the world.
Image the reaction if I would come up with such a plan for one of my projects!
Do you really believe he will successfully complete this project again this year?
Well, there must be a way with modern technology to obtain a status report for the clients. After all, stakeholders management is very important and is now a part of PMBOK, 5th edition.
Luckily, NORAD will again try this year to track him and reassure all of us that Christmas will happen as planned just like before.
Let’s be happy that this guy accepted to be the project manager, and leave the issue of dubious project management methodology for the guys at the Project Management Office. And honestly, I wonder who Cesar will interview for the PM for the Masses Podcast to discuss this project!
Let’s celebrate, be grateful and enjoy the beauty of life and those people in our life! After all, mastering project management is one thing. But the ultimate joy of the year should not be our successful projects. Life is beautiful, and let’s be grateful and full of love and smile for our family, spouse, kids, friends strangers and everybody else in our life!
Merry Christmas to all!
Joyeux Noël à tous!
Feliz Navidad a todos!
God jul till alla!
Michel Dion, PMP, CPA
Founder and Developer of Project-Aria
Discover my book:
Leadership Toolbox for Project Managers: Achieve Better Results in a Dynamic World