Through all the diaper changes, sleepless nights and incessant worrying about the baby's health, I began to reflect from a whole new perspective on some project management truisms:.
Like a baby, projects begin to stink when the schedule fails to be updated or changed on a timely basis.
A year ago, my organization received a letter from a customer saying its independent auditor raised the red flag that a large, complex program we were running had overrun its budget by 20 percent. The customer was demanding to know why we hadn't notified them as required by contract.
The situation was embarrassing; the root cause turned out to be that the program schedule data (including cost information) was grossly inaccurate because it had not been updated.
When a customer cries, project managers, like parents, sense the urgency and react instinctively but often fail to take a moment and decipher the root cause.
Many times I have had the "pleasure" of putting on my firefighter hat to react rapidly to a customer request.
In one instance a customer was upset that based on our latest schedule submission, they would have to report a slip to their management. When our team started the variance analysis as demanded by the customer, someone noticed that the status file submitted to the customer contained last month's data but was mislabeled with this month's date. Problem solved.
Project managers, like parents, are constantly being bombarded with best practices and new or revised processes and methodologies that if utilized would ensure their projects never get sick.
I am quite guilty on this last item since I'm always anxious to apply the latest and greatest.
Then again, maybe if we apply lean Six Sigma with theory of constraint in conjunction with critical chain management coupled with extreme agile iterative spiral methodologies with capability maturity model integration and PRINCE2 and information technology infrastructure library and AS9100 and ISO9000 wrapped around the whole thing, our projects would never succumb to failure again...
Love to hear your thoughts and best wishes to you all!