50 Shades of Project Management
Sally had an appointment to interview Roger Prodger, the famous project manager. “I hope he’s my type”, she giggled to her friend Jenny, though deep down she expected him to be boring.
“What IS your type?”, asked Jenny.
“Well, I always insist on a PID” Sally replied.
“A Powerful Influential Dominator of course” Sally tittered.
Arriving at Roger’s offices, Sally was impressed by the smooth granite entrance hall and the immaculately coiffured receptionist who looked down her nose at Sally. Could this be the PID she had dreamed of for so many years?
On entering Roger’s office Sally was stunned to see the most gorgeous man she had ever met – he was wearing a slightly-too-tight light grey suit, with an enticing glimpse of his brown wool/nylon blend socks just visible above his expensive leather brogues. Standing behind his granite desk he swung his Burton jacket off to reveal a light blue short-sleeved shirt, with epaulettes. He loosened his navy blue tie slightly and reached for one of the four biros in his breast pocket. “Welcome to Project S” he boomed in a powerful, masculine voice.
“What’s Project S?” she queried?
“Project Sally of course. Everything’s a project, didn’t you know?”
As soon as he saw her, Roger had decided that he would pass his wisdom on to her, and that she too would become one of the master race like him – a Project Manager. They would travel the beaches of the world, calculating resource requirements together and logging key events.
“But I’m not qualified – I don’t have the three qualities of pessimism, OCD, or assertiveness!”, she cried. “Don’t worry”, he breathed, “you’ll soon be just like me. I’ll make you into a measurably high quality project manager within a fixed time, to an achievable budget. Anything’s possible once you have a Gantt chart”. She felt electricity running through her bones at the thought!
“But first, a brief kick off meeting” he commanded masterfully. “Some things you need to know about me…..
1. I would like to invite you out on a date but I have a morbid fear of scope creep, so clearly visible briefs are essential at all times.
2. My deliverables are well defined within my work package.
3. I don’t enjoy feeling a little behind.
4. In order to perform optimally I need a predicted spend profile for the evening, with hourly milestones and a half way budgetary and progress review”.
“Oh I do like a man with a well-resourced timeline and a substantial issues log”, Sally cooed.
…Later, back at Roger Prodger’s house….
On the granite drive to his Grade 1 listed Tudor mansion, Sally tripped at the boundary gateway, but Roger was there to catch her in his strong arms. “Oh, you’re my Prince!” she quavered.
His face darkened: “No!” He stormed, suddenly angry. “I won’t have that filthy word mentioned in my house – I’m strictly an APM man – VERY strictly in fact, as you will no doubt find out…. in fact I don’t like anything that’s not PERT. I always like to evaluate and review my programmes. It’s because of my father. He was no ordinary man; some called him the Prince2 Of Darkness, and he used to make me read 100 page reports, he made everything much too complicated, and he used to stop me starting anything. That’s why I have a deep horror of the P word and why I, er, have issues with control….
Realising he’d lost her, he softened and said
“OK, let’s G.a.n.t.t. – if you’re ready?”
“Let’s grab a naughty time together”, he barked, slightly impatient at having to explain himself. Communication wasn’t his strong point, and he often spoke in TLAs.
“Are you…… Prepared?” she asked with some embarrassment.
“Yes of course”, he grunted “…preventative and protective”.
She marvelled at the rigour of his risk analysis.
He ushered her down the long marble corridor and she entered a large room through something called an Initiation Gateway.
“Welcome to my project management dungeon” Roger announced – there were whiteboards and post it notes on every wall, and at the far end, a flip chart with handcuffs.
“If you fail to identify the critical path I might get upset”, he murmured huskily in her ear, and she started to wonder if she was out of her depth.
“What have you got planned for me, she quavered?”
“Just a bit of critical path analysis followed by resource planning, he purred”.
“Single or multiple projects?”
“Multiple of course….”
…And the next few hours exceeded her wildest dreams. First he put on some seductive music – it seemed to be some kind of project management rap. Then he began his work…
His strong hands were a blur of marker pens and post-it’s.
It wasn’t till 3am that they finally collapsed together in a sweaty heap.
“How was it for you?”, she asked, as Roger lit a cigarette and updated his highlight review with a colour coded marker.
“Well, quality was 10% above specification, with good attention to the non critical tasks, but there was some slippage on the expected timescale”, he rasped.
Finally he asked
“So Sally – lessons learned??”
“Er….,” she hesitated
“If you can’t remember the twelve step process I might have to issue an exception report”, he smirked sternly.
End of Part 1…