Project Management Institute

An inside job


BY MICHAEL HATFIELD, PMP, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

On most dark and stormy nights I would be in my office, but on this particular evening, I was due at police headquarters. I finally had a file full of hard evidence that exposed the executives at Monolithic Corp. as the largest, most dangerous force arrayed against the project management world, and I was determined to put them away for good.

“All right, Raspberry, show us what you got,” the captain said as I entered.

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I produced an official Monolithic interoffice memo from my satchel. “This says that earned value is to be avoided wherever possible, and that cost ‘management’ is to be performed by comparing budgets to actuals.”

“This can’t be right,” one of the detectives said. “Monolithic isn’t so careless as to commit such idiocy to writing!”

“It’s not carelessness. It’s arrogance,” I explained. “They’re completely confident they can force their customers to absorb the overruns and delays.”

“Well, my sources tell me Monolithic is committed to doing project management right, so we shouldn’t act on this,” one detective stated flatly.

“I don’t know about your sources, but that memorandum is authentic. It has Monolithic’s logo embossed on it, with traces of lead and mercury in the ink. I also dusted it for fingerprints, and my tests reveal it was handled by their CEO.”

“Nevertheless, my sources say it isn’t so, so we shouldn’t act on it.”

I felt my frustration starting to rise. “Are you saying you’re going to ignore direct, hard evidence in your hands in favor of hearsay?”

“That’s the way we like to manage,” the captain began. “We like to use our enhanced communications approach to elicit the opinions of our detectives. We even have a database with a listing of milestones and action items, and we update it with the detectives’ inputs weekly.”

“Well, conducting a poll is nice, but it’s no substitute for hard data that has been properly processed into information,” I countered.

“We wanted to have a real performance-measurement system, but we didn’t have the time or the money,” the captain replied. “This was all we could put in.”

“And I bet it says everything is proceeding normally, right up until the end of the project or end of the fiscal year, and then, suddenly, everything is in trouble.”

The detectives were staring at the tops of their shoes. “Don’t you see what you’re doing? You’re replacing a legitimate information stream with an invalid business tactic!”

“You’re not much of a team player, are you, Raspberry?” the captain replied, as he produced his handcuffs.

A detective was tearing up the Monolithic memo. Only then did it dawn on me that Monolithic had infiltrated the police staff—and I was in deep trouble. Fortunately, I’d left the top down on my convertible so I leapt out of the conference room window, landed into the driver’s seat and drove off.

Just then, Monolithic’s CEO emerged from an anteroom, stood at the window and shook his fist. “This isn’t over, Raspberry! We will meet again!” PM

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Michael Hatfield, PMP, is a senior project leader and instructor. You can reach him at varthold@aol.com.

This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI.

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