Tag Archives: projects

Mr Red and Mr Blue and the Other Boot

Mr RedI’ve already blogged about the fact that I feel distinctly uneasy working without a Plan B.

Management texts define a Project as a complex one-off activity and a Process as a repeatable one. I have put it to Mr Red, who’s my boss, that no-one chez nous has previously done the work we’re are doing, that there are lots of places where it can go wrong and that therefore it qualifies as a Project. I won’t bore you with the scope of the thing, but I do tend to win “my roll-out is bigger than your roll-out” discussions with former colleagues at the Geek Reunion Ball.

Mr BlueAnyway, it isn’t being managed as a Project and we don’t have any contingency plans if things go wrong except “work out what to do at the time”. We are a bloody minded bunch so it’s an approach that will work, but it takes so much effort to make it up as I go along. I’d much rather implement a plan I made earlier. Maybe I just watched too much Blue Peter as a child.

I have been predicting doom and gloom like the dour Scottish one from Dad’s Army, and reminding my team that people always over-promise and under-deliver, and being told on a daily basis “Aphra, you are so cynical”. Well, cynical or not, I’m also right. Ner.

We are in fact only one week behind where I expected to be, which is a month behind where the rest of the team expected to be, all because other people over-promised and under-delivered and we believed them instead of tracking their status on a daily basis. I may be cynical, but Mr Red told me not to be anal, and now look at us.

All of that as it may be, I have spent the last 8 weeks waiting for Something to Go Wrong. Now that it has, I feel an enormous sense of relief. We have no choice now but to deal with reality. No more floating around in pretty-fluffy-cuckoo-land where people do what they say they do without being checked up on and software tests perfect the first time through.

I am thinking of having a motivational poster printed up saying:

People lie.


Software fails.


Deal with it.