Project Management – The Best Day

So a colleague said something interesting to me about project management:

The best day of project management is usually the first day, but I want to show you that the best day is really the last day of the project.

And as I thought about this, I sort of starting laughing to myself and thinking, you know what, I think this guy has something here. 


– Day 1 of a project, everyone is usually all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. 


We’re embarking on an adventure together to build something new for the organization and our customers. 


We’re going to team up and everyone will contribute.


And out of the project sausage maker–poof!–like magic comes a new system or product. 


– But as we all know, things don’t always go so smoothly.


With some projects, the pretty smiley faces of day 1 may quickly turn to ugly frown faces.


There is analysis paralysis, scope creep, conflicting or changing priorities, resource issues, technical challenges, or the sausage just doesn’t come our right–oh sh*t!


Thus, many  projects end up going bust in terms of cost, schedule, or performance. 


That is, they end up costing too much, being delivered behind schedule, or just not meeting the performance requirements. 


You have some projects that never even truly get off the ground, have multiple resets, or get dumbed-down or even cancelled altogether along the way. 


So by the time you reach the last day of the project, many people seem like they’ve been through the project ringer. 


I’m sure that I’ve heard more than one project manager say:

Just take me out back and shoot me!


So when this colleague said that he wants the best day of the project to be the last–in terms of satisfaction with the project (not that that pain was finally over!)–I really appreciated this as an awesome goal. 


We should all look to the last day of our projects as the best–one where we can look back and say: 

Wow, great job everyone!  We really got something great done here–and we did it right!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anything Is Possible

So you’re all aware of the 3 legs of project management:


– Cost


– Schedule


– Scope


I remember learning the adage that if you change any one of these then there is an impact on the others. 


For example, if you “crash” the timeline on a project to finish more quickly, then you either need more money or you need to reduce the scope. 


Similarly, if you want to cut costs on the project then you may have to extend the timeline or scale back on the requirements. 


Recently, I heard someone says the following:

“We can do anything with enough time and resources.”


And when I thought about this, it’s true enough.


If you provide more money and time for a project then, of course, you can do more in terms of the scope of the project.


Pour enough bucks and time into something and conceptually, we really can do anything. 


Technically, we can do the proverbial “anything,” but that’s only if the politics and infighting don’t get in the way of  progress. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bombs But No Strategy

Bombs.jpeg

So the good news is that we have killed about 45,000 ISIS terrorist fighters.


The bad news is two-fold:


First, there are still roughly 15,000-30,000 remaining and more being recruited all the time. 


Second, it took us 49,315 bombs dropped over two years to do this. 


So we are averaging less than 1 kill per bomb!


Sure, we are also hitting other targets like oil and gas infrastructure and tankers.


But about 20,000 of the munitions dropped are GPS precision-guided (e..g Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Small Diameter Bombs, and Hellfire Missiles) and have cost $2 billion!


That comes out to a cost of around $45,000 just for just 40% the bombs to kill each and every ISIS terrorist, and doesn’t even include all the extensive military infrastructure, planes, intelligence, and people. 


And this is just a super tiny drop in the bucket compared to the $4-$6 trillion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after 9/11, has cost just through 2013


–That represents between 20-30% of our our entire $20 trillion national debt!


At this rate, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the other terrorists may simply be able to cause irreparable damage and even bankrupt America.


How long can we afford to fight these extended and expensive wars against terrorism and never seem to even win–what’s the strategy here? Is there one? 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to vaXzine)

You’re Getting Milked

Cow.JPeG

If you have a pulse and have been to the stores or even shopping online lately (hey, it’s the holidays so of course you have), you know that prices are on the rise.


And this is amazing, because–


Major factors point to pricing that should be driven down:


Commodities–which are the basic raw materials from agriculture to oil and gas and metals and mining–are at a more than 16-year low!


Manufacturing has moved to low cost sourcing countries (China, India, Vietnam, Africa, etc.)


Technology continues to benefit us in terms of cost-efficiencies from the transformation to robotics and automation.


Yet, we keep on seeing prices move ever higher:


Just a few examples…


– “Housing market is on fire” with existing home prices exceeding the pre-recession peak!


– “Car prices at records highs – and rising


– “Food prices are sky high“–it’s not your imagination.


Fashion “prices rising so fast


Health care spending is “again accelerating”


– “College costs are so high and rising.


Forget the B.S. of the basket of inflation stats your being feed…you know that your bills are going up, while your income is stagnant.


The real question is why is the middle class always getting milked–whose interest does it serve? 😉

Don’t Stampede On Others’ Feelings

Don't Stampede On Others' Feelings

I took this picture of a cow stampede when hiking in the mountains.

The cows first came up to us all friendly and then after staying for a little bit, decided to bolt off across the open field.

Together–it was like a mini stampede.

It reminded me of a situation recently, where I felt bad that I had stampeded (albeit inadvertently) on someone’s feelings.

We received a delivery–actually a new couch (the other one we were replacing was really uncomfortable and it was high time to go).

At one point, I was taken a little aback when the delivery man asked me, admiring it–“How much was it?”

Not wanting to really say specifically, I just said nonchalantly, “Oh, not so much.”

But the man pressed on and said, “No really, how much was it?”

I was a little uncomfortable, but I figured he’s just making conversation, and honestly it wasn’t extravagant so I say in a round figure what it was.

Then I see his face go dark, and I realized what had accidentally happened.

It was perhaps a bit much for this nice man (although I really don’t know his situation, but just his facial expression).

Anyway, I felt terrible and proceeded to say something light and then we chatted for a little bit.

I think it is important to feel for all people–trying to make the best with what G-d provides and deal with everyday tests and challenges.

We are all people–and at any moment–what befalls one, can befall anyone, so we must be grateful for each and every blessing, for however long G-d grants it. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What’s The Internet Worth To You?

What a great question–what’s the Internet or your Smartphone worth to you?Most people seems to say they wouldn’t give these up–not even for a million dollars!

Maybe $15-20 million–enough to never have to work again. Okay, now you’re getting closer.

Nah, I want a billion dollars to give up the Internet–that’s what some people responded.

For me, I’m not certain even a billion dollars could keep me off the Internet–but I could certainly try it for a few days.

Being able to communicate, connect, learn, share, and transact online is like air and water to us now-a-days–an absolute necessity for modern survival.

Without being able to do these things, you may as well be on a stranded island–you may own that Island (like Larry Ellison who bought the 6th largest Hawaiian Island of Lanai) and it may be quite a nice one at that, but you’ll still be quite secluded and alone in the Internet age.

Yes, the Internet and all we get from it costs only pennies on the millions (and/or billions) of dollars worth we each receive from it–and that’s why on some things you cannot put a price tag.

We’re in this world to learn and grow and for that we need other people far and wide–either that or you’ll need to have one heck of a big and non-stop party at home in paradise. 😉

The Soul of A Shoe

I took these photos today of a cross section of a shoe.

I was surprised that this was all there was too it.

So what costs $140???

A little cowhide on the outside, a little cushion on the inside, and a some rubber sole on the bottom.

Add some eyelets and laces, and some stitching to hold it all together.

While there are certainly lots of styles, colors, and sizes out there, most are sort of commoditized, boring, and non high-tech.

Where are those jet-powered rocket shoes they promised when I was a kid.

Come on Nike–“just do it.”