Archive for August 2013

A New Project Methodology!

August 9, 2013

I’m no Project Management Professional (PMP), but I have learned a fair amount about project management in my career.  I’ve actually had a few training classes in general project management as well as a specific project methodology.  I’ve also learned the differences between waterfall, lean, and agile.  But in my new job, I believed that I have discovered a brand new project methodology at my place of employment and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

For my non-technical friends, project management is taking a large task (like developing a new system, or it could be building a house), breaking it into the stages, breaking the stages into tasks, figuring out the resources that are available, figuring how long it takes each resource to complete  a specific task, and putting that all together to tell you how long it will take to do the big task.  You have three variables that you can use to change the project: Quality (this would be a combination of the quality of work to be done and even the scope of the work), Resources (people and money), or Time.  A common adage in project management is that for any given project, you can only favorable control two of the variables at once.  For instance, if you want something done well in a very short time frame, you have to throw lots of resources at it (people and/or money).  If you want it cheap, but good quality, it will take a long time.  

But I’m proud to say that my place of employment (that shall remain nameless) has a groundbreaking approach to this dilemma.  Allow me to present the Reality Free Project Management Methodology (RFPMM). Let me explain how this works:

1) Take a major task that would be considered a project

2) Pick a manager who will manage the project

3) The manager picks the completion date

4) The manager assign resources – as a rule, no more than two people should work on this, even though others might be available.

5) Expect it to be done by target date.

The advantages to this are many – you don’t have to worry about pesky things like figuring out what tasks make up this project, how long it takes to do the task, whether you have enough resources, communicating plans and task schedules to the people doing the work  You just pick the date you want it done and the resources have to get it done by that time.

In all seriousness, this is how major (and even not quite so major) tasks are planned at my company.  Yesterday, my supervisor asked me to come up with a plan to convert a system built in one language to another…in two months.  By myself.  And probably while I also have to contribute to another important (but not as big task) as well as two major projects. On a monthly basis, tasks are assigned to developers for the fixed date release and there better have been an apocalypse to excuse not having your tasks completed for the release (even if assigned to you two days before release day).  

But there’s the beauty of RFPMM – it doesn’t matter.  You have a task and a due date. You can control all three project management variables because…reality doesn’t apply.

Hmmm…I wonder if I could patent this and then charge my company for violating my business process patent….