Misfits of project
Content and Introduction
Flash - Project Management and History (2) – USA, 1862
23 minutes thought on how to choose project management training
An e-mail from X-City
Processes/Costs and Products/Benefits
From the e-mail: `...
leaving apart the philosophy: processes/costs and products/profit.´
Doesn’t that fellow
like our `philosophy´? None of his business, you would say; we agree, but
this is an ironic newsletter, isn’t it? ;-)
Are then processes
An industrial process
is inherently a cost; so are all processes.
But … you know, selling
processes is easy, very easy.
Must be all this
politically-correct stuff: never ever speak of costs, speak of processes!
Btw, the customer understands “costs” but probably he/she is not able to
understand “processes” proposed by some “project managers”.
Aren’t products profit?
What else could be profits? A kindergarten child knows he/she needs some
sort of product to get something … no football picture-card, no barter.
We are not children, so
we usually go for profit.
So … if someone is not
delivering profits to the customer, what is anyone delivering? Processes?
No jokes here guys,
unfortunately this happens very often. The customer pays to get profits and
he/she gets processes, i.e., costs.
This is very important:
project management should deliver profits, i.e., products; those
products ought to be defined from the very beginning;
if the project manager does not deliver products, he/she has failed and
should not be paid, period.
We are not going to
take the hint from the (`communicate`) parts where that fellow would seem
not to have understood our words correctly … let’s say he appears not to
like our marketing our consulting and training services (what should a firm
`communicate´ be about? - we ask you).
Oh, don’t worry, the
marketing part is not over!
London – X-City – Kazakhstan (through Cuneo and Toto’)
Let’s speak of the
X-City-Kazakhstan part! Without forgetting Toto’ and London.
Doesn’t that fellow
like our being (Prince2 Practitioner) certified in London? You know, we
usually write we are Prince2 Practitioner certified … we never thought
someone wouldn’t like that.
Here it is: `Also
Toto’ (prince De Curtis), to put on airs, said that he was drafted as a
Cuneo. What does it
mean being certified in London? Do you think that someone who has studied in
[X-City] or in Kazakhstan is less prepared than you?´
Toto’ was a famous
Italian comic, Cuneo is a small but very nice town (yes, we definitely liked
it!) in Piedmont; hey guys, what is wrong with Cuneo?
Our fault: we got our
Prince2 Practitioner certification in London.
You know how important
certifications are to us; in our
second newsletter we wrote: ´The
only problem is … how can passengers find out which ships will probably
begin drifting once the port is no longer in sight? Look for the rudder, ask
to see it and ask the captain for certificates attesting his rank.´
The captain was the project manager, obviously.
A Prince2 Practitioner
certification in London (Prince2
was born in the UK) is a guarantee. Is it possible that someone does not
like our seriousness? If so, why?
Why should anyone get
excitable over our certification? Shouldn’t they tend their own business?
And yes, usually a
certification got in London is (in our modest opinion) better than one got
in Kazakhstan (we used to know some good guys from there)!
Would you prefer to
employ a Project Manager certified in London in a government sponsored
methodology, or a “project manager” who studied in some exotic place?
The longer courses are …
What about courses?
Courses cost, the
longer they are ...
From the e-mail: `3)
A one or two days course is sufficient to operate [imprecise quotation
of our `communicate´]. But do you know that the best PM didn’t attend
even a single training day? If anything, they train others.´
Why, the fellow is
trying to be ironic!
Let’s quote (from that
e-mail!) our original text: `… we are project managers officially
certified Prince2 Practitioner in London and we can help you in the
management of projects, it is our job; and for your
personnel, a one or two days course is sufficient
to begin to operate”.
The first Prince2
certification stage is called Foundation: it is conceived for the personnel
bound to work in a Prince2 environment, and in fact there are much more
“Foundations” than Practitioners (the true Project Managers); usually,
Foundation lasts at most three days and in fact two days could be
So, to give some basic
knowledge to the personnel working in a project under the direction of a
certified Project Manager - in a few words
to put them in the condition to begin
executing instructions - one does not need long and costly courses.
Here lies the truth!
training organizations get usually paid? Per day, folks, per day!
We have recently spoken
to a manager: he spent a lot of money for a three-day course for himself and
his personnel (plus the trainer hotel expenses, we presume), he got pissed
off because he realized it was not worth and … he reverted to his old habits
(i.e., another methodology). Some key personnel
lost three days for a course which in our opinion would have required at
most two days, not to speak of the self-study option (i.e., one
day would probably have sufficed).
And mind … that course
involved a certification (if only as a personnel member)!
Btw, the manager who
lost three days and spent a lot of money is probably not going to take any
project management courses in the future, no way. Mind, he deals with a lot
of folks; what is he going to tell other people?
Now comes the juicy
promised you the marketing part was not over :-)
From the X-City e-mail:
`… it is the apotheosis of marketing. In fact, marketing doesn’t need
product specifications, but only slogans to sell it.´
This is really
enlightening: after having “criticized” our ´products/profit` ´philosophy´,
the fellow speaks of product specifications. We need to insert this into our
Tip section someday :-)
We are guilty: we are
good at marketing our products. That is very flattering because marketing is
one of the products … we market!
The point is: some
“project managers” sell processes, not even solutions (nowadays’ magic
word); what do they tell their customers-to-be in order to win over
Nowadays, whatever one
does not like becomes “slogan”.
But the point is: what
are customers going to think of project management, afterwards?
From that e-mail: `...
What is missing is
just the shout "Avati
[Savoy forward - the cry of Savoy’s cavalry],
but you are Swiss and maybe the
Savoys were only
welcomed guests after the Italian disaster.`
We did not know the
Savoys lived in Switzerland, but it should be known the Swiss are famous for
their pike-men, certainly not for their cavalry ;-)
A thought ... what does
“politics” have to do with project management?
leave “politics” and national matters out of
business: acting differently may doom a project, create
long-lasting tensions inside the team/s, and so on.
A Project Manager
should be professional, never ever put forgotten episodes on the scales.
A Project Manager deals with people;
without a team backing him/her, he/she is doomed … and the project with
“Slay the Swiss, slay them all!” ;-)
were the next words? You will never believe your own eyes! Pure juice,
they are: `Sincerely, in your words one can find a lot of influence by
NLP principles, but [sic] firms are not in a crisis because of a lack of
Project Management, rather because of the greed and incapability of some
wicked guy that maybe is still in command, and maybe he keeps his money
inside a Swiss bank. NLP aims at recovering depressed people, while the PM
aims at rationalizing processes to improve the product (NOT THE VICEVERSA).
but this is a long story.´
do NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming), it is written on our site. In fact we
deal with NLP applied to marketing, sales, and so on.
only problem is … that fellow seems to have “proprietary” ideas on what NLP
is! We suppose he studied our website and then he decided our `communicate´
was full of NLP. You know, after all NLP is trendy.
How often is the customer not so knowledgeable on some arguments he/she has
to deal with? Is the “project manager” ready to help him/her in earnest?
firms in a crisis because of the Swiss? You know, maybe those wicked, greed
and incapable guys put their money inside Swiss banks; even worse, maybe
those guys are still in command!
the other hand `… the PM aims at rationalizing processes to improve the
product (NOT THE VICEVERSA).´
Processes again! Customers want good
products at a minimum cost ... what if they are proposed
processes, i.e., costs?
but then if a firm is in a crisis, maybe it is a fault of those “wretched”
wicked guys who maybe keep their money inside Swiss banks, not of
“uninformed” project management or even of the lack of project management!
of project management: here, guys, what do you think a Project Manager would
Would you like to make use of these concepts?
case of failure, there is a culprit at the ready: the wicked Swiss pike-man.
folks, it’s up to you, but then please, please, please … don’t go around
saying it is a fault of the Swiss who hosted the Savoy’s horses ;-)
“I was there” - Horseman of the Apocalypse
We know, this is a
funny title … but after so much speaking of Savoys and horses … ;-)
`If I were you, I
would reflect well on the origins and the past of Prince2, the present
English small crown notwithstanding! I was there in the 80s.
In any case, my motto
is the exact opposite. “All methodologies have the same goal: to
[translated from the original] the cultural level of an organization.
They seem to be the same, instead one must know many of them to appreciate
And yes, the last
sentences were written in bold (and coloured) characters.
You see, he was there!
It would seem that
fellow likes speaking not only about the Swiss, but about the Brits, too.
What was he hinting at? It would appear he is not Prince2 certified … but
maybe he knows something special … he was there, you know.
Is the goal of project
management methodologies “to lift” the cultural level of an organization?
Hey guys, we were convinced the goal was to
manage projects and to bring them to a profitable conclusion!
Speaking of slogans:
would anyone tell something like that to his/her customers-to-be? We would
say it would be not only “wrong” marketing, but also something which has
nothing to do with Project Management.
Do project management
methodologies seem to be the same? Sorry, we do not think so: as an example,
there is a huge difference between
Prince2 (sponsored by a Western government and adopted worldwide)
or PMP, for instance, and … some
It is very late. Time
to go, guys … better, never forget to check whether Tailchaser and Inklets
are ok before leaving: never forget to take care
of whomever put his/her trust in you.
Let’s finish here with
one last quotation: `I’m sure you are able to mark out and respect the
work of those who do things with the necessary seriousness. [Y]
is an example of such, believe me.´
Oh, are scores saying
similar words to customers-to-be? … what is your opinion?
Our opinion? Sorry, but
we are deadly scared of the day of the Apocalypse … what if we find
ourselves unprovided with pikes on that day? ;-)
Continues with "Flash -
Project Management and History (2) – USA, 1862" ...
“Misfits of project management” is free and
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Being an ironic newsletter, it reflects only
ideas. “Answers” or assertions that are not between inverted commas [‘….’]
are not to be considered as “true” answers or assertions: that is only a way
to express ironically what is perceived.
We make use of another set of inverted commas
[“….”]: those are no quotations at all, just a literary device of ours to
make concepts clearer.
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