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The Pencil Analogy Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 6:47 AM


SSCrazy

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Awesome example of some very basic project management concepts (scope, stakeholders, measurements of success).

So this seems to illustrate the point that the success or lack thereof in a project can be a matter of perspective.

From the PM's perspective the pencil project was a huge success. He managed the scope creep beautifully including an increased budget.

When the stakeholder was the CEO and his measurements of success were the ruling criteria, the project was a huge success.

As soon as the stakeholders changed from the CEO to the board of directors and the measurements of success also changed, the project became a huge failure.

Perspective. (a fancy way of saying "it depends")

Dave
Post #1161722
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 7:09 AM
Right there with Babe

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Excellent story.

And it reminds us that the much more simple solution existed: Let each user choose their own writing instrument.


...

-- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --
Post #1161737
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:18 AM


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Great story, I think I worked for them one time.

Of course I was young and stupid, and when the contract (for a software conversion project) had one short line saying "Add in additional changes we have come up with over the last few years" in the 3 page document, and I was assured there were just a few, I believed them, and signed the contract.

Once I had been there about a week, I was handed a 3 inch thick folder of notes, including some handwritten on napkins.

For that and several other reasons I didn't end up finishing that contract.

I would have to guess though, that most developers have had something similar happen to them.


Kenneth Fisher
I strive to live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without being questioned about its motives.
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Post #1161803
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:25 AM
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Thank you SO much for the giggle to go with my morning coffee. I truly needed it although I'm pretty certain the owner of my company would not understand the humor. Apparently it's always my fault when the projects aren't delivered on time or on budget.
Post #1161807
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:30 AM
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Thanks again for all the comments. I'm loving the stories, especially. Glad to know I'm not the only one in this reality!
Post #1161810
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:51 AM
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I can sum up that little parable by quoting Dr. Deming: "The present style of management is the biggest producer of waste, causing huge losses, whose magnitudes can not be evaluated, can not be measured”.

- “The New Economics” 1994 – Ch. 2 -The Heavy Losses-, page 22
Post #1161834
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 8:56 AM
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Excellent analogy


Post #1161839
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 9:40 AM
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I'm saving this one - it has soooo many uses. Like slapping onto the desk of the next person that says "I have just one little tweak..." (Full disclosure: this is just as likely to be an IT person with an "improvement" to the system being developed - like me!)

We deal with these types of scope creep changes every day in the larger management of multiple projects (with limited resources). When the PM is at the bottom of the org chart, and the RVP is near the top, it's a tough battle to push back on the scope creep. Fortunately our CEO is enlightened, and can assist in either pushing back, or re-prioritizing. Now if we can just get the prioritizing in line with the available resources, we'll be golden!


"Making progress, one creep at a time."



Here there be dragons...,

Steph Brown
Post #1161874
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:04 AM
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My quote from Dr. Deming can apply to any person who tries to "manage" a project poorly-- that includes an IT person who has "just one (more) little tweak"...
Post #1161901
Posted Thursday, August 18, 2011 10:14 AM


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Nice! Very entertaining and sadly, very relevant.
Post #1161909
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