True Story

''Of course I don't look busy—I did it right the first time.'' This one-liner brings to mind the problem that so many of us face in implementing project management strategies and methods in our businesses. It seems that people are resistant to change even when it is good for them, and they don't appreciate people getting things done if they don't look busy enough. As a newly certified project management professional, you will undoubtedly run into some resistance when you try to implement new ideas, and project management techniques seem to be full of new ideas.

There is a story (probably true) about a project manager who went to work for a company that produced computer software. This project manager was hired to complete a project that was to produce a significant amount of the company's income for the year, and it had a strict deadline of twelve months.

As time went by, the project manager settled in, and after a couple of weeks the project manager's boss asked her how many lines of code had been written for the project (a not too unusual measure for computer programming types).

She replied, ''Well, none at the moment. We are describing the user's requirements and doing some planning for the project, but no, we have no lines of code written.''

This seemed to satisfy her manager for the time being, and the project manager continued her work. After about a month the project manager's boss showed up again and asked the same question, ''How many lines of code have you and your project team written?''

The project manager, recognizing the concern of her manager, said, ''Well, none, but we are getting organized. We have defined our deliverables for the project, and we have made a work breakdown structure for the project, and we have started our risk analysis, but no, we have no lines of code written.'' Somewhat shaken, the manager left.

This went on for some time. The project manager did planning and organizing for the project execution to take place, and her manager grew more and more frantic with each passing day.

To make a long (twelve months) story shorter, after about eleven months, the project was completed. The customer and all the stakeholders were happy. The project was fully tested and it met all the requirements as specified. The customer accepted the system and paid the bill.

The project manager's boss decided to throw a party for the entire project team. So, one Friday afternoon, the office was closed and everyone took a break for pizza and beer. The project manager's boss took her aside during the party and said, ''I want to congratulate you on getting this project done within the time required, but it seems to me that if you had not been messing around doing that planning stuff and gotten busy writing code from the start, we would have been done about two months sooner.''

This is the kind of reward you can expect when you follow good project management practices and you are working in an environment where all of this is new to the management of your organization. Sometimes a little training in the ways and methods of project management is in order. Often we find companies that are spending many thousands of dollars training people who will manage projects are not training any of the managers above those project managers. When the project managers try to implement something new that they have learned, they are frequently frustrated by upper management's resistance to change.

Sometimes it seems that getting these executive managers into some sort of project management course is a lost cause. But it is imperative that we do so, if only so that they will appreciate and understand some of the things that our new project managers are trying to do.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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