Work Stories – String?

Chris is a posh man, well-educated, speaks properly, means well ..

Many a young woman would like to take him home.

But he hasn’t got a clue.

I’m listening to him now, blabbing on about the project deliverables and timescales, deadlines, getting “traction” ..

His vocabulary is a lexicon of buzz-words ..

Sprints, scrums and other terminology of adaptive, iterative and evolutionary development.

His fresh face puts him about 30, experienced in project management and talking a good game.

But noticeably the detail is missing.

This is management by spreadsheet in action.

The business come up with a number of tasks, he speaks to us techies to get the dependencies and the sequence that things need to be built ..

Then he asks .. But how long will that take?

How long is a bit of string?

It’s like this …

You tell me how long it is from one end to the middle and I’ll tell you how long it is.

The problem with a lot of projects these days is that the project managers aren’t experienced in the projects they are managing,. They’ve done a course, came from another business, have no idea of the technology.

Take this chap Chris for example, he’s obviously a well-organised, intelligent fellow, but he doesn’t have the experience of either the business to understand the issues, or the technology to understand the solution.

In my experience, you need to have one or the other, for a top down or bottom up approach.

All the spreadsheets, project management tools and a knowledge of all the innovative  development processes in the world isn’t going to provide that experience.

He’s looking round the room, his chin jutted out, determined, but I can see the pressure in his eyes, he wants this to be a success, he wants the credibility of delivering a successful project on time .. and within budget.

I look over at Peter, he’s reading my mind .. This guy is fecking clueless.

I want to help out, but I’m not going to give myself undue pressure, just because he doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to give a reasonable estimate.

“That will take 2 months development and a month to test”

He looks at me, he’s hoping the numbers were smaller, so he turns his eyes to Pete.

“That sounds about right”

Chris put’s the numbers in his spreadsheet and reads the next task on the list.

Pete, gives me a smile.

That should cover the time that it takes for both ends of the string to come together.

This weekend, Bryan Ferry plays The Usher Hall, Edinburgh .. I haven’t got tickets as I’ve seen him a few times recently and well to be honest .. He’s a bit of poser and there is only so much you can take.

But it’s worth it for this alone … Both Ends Burning.


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