I’ve reblogged here for a reason a post from my other light-reading blog at http://ksriranga.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/how-to-hit-the-bulls-eye-every-time/ for your perusal.
Will catch up with you on the other side.
How To Hit The Bull’s Eye Every Time?
The myth of 10,000 hours needed to become an ace at anything is busted. Read on to find out how.
One morning a Duke was riding inside the woods together with his men-at-arms and servants when he caught the sight of the usual target of concentric circles painted on a tree trunk and smack inside the center of each was a bolt.
Some distance away, he came up on another tree that too had the target and the arrow in bull’s eye.
He found more trees of the same kind.
“Who is this amazingly skilled bowman?” wondered the Duke. “Fetch him wherever he is. I have to meet him!”
When his retinue looked around they found a young boyish looking man with a bow and bolts. They produced him before the Duke.
“Lad, fear not. Who is the great bowman that had hit the bull’s eye every time? Do you know him?”
The young man shook his head to say he did know who did it.
“Is it your father?”
He shook his head again this time to say it wasn’t him.
“The teacher from whom you’re perhaps training?”
It wasn’t him either.
The Duke persisted with his query.
Finally the young man mumbled it was him that shot the bolts plumb inside the middle of every last one of targets.
The Duke laughed aloud: “I know – you didn’t essentially stroll up to the targets and sledge the shafts into the middle, did you?”
“No, my master. I shot them from 100 paces. I swear it by all that I hold holy.”
“That is really astounding, you’re the best archer I’ve ever seen. I herewith appoint you as a trainer to my archers.”
The young man thanked the Duke profusely.
“I still have a question to ask of you. How did you get to be so good hitting the bull’s eye every time? Did you spend all day practicing? If you’re so good, your teacher must be a wizard. Take us to him, will you?”
“No, No. It is like this. I stand upright, take a careful aim, hold my breath, see it with one eye and shoot the arrow at the tree.”
“Well, that’s what we all do too.”
“And then draw the target circles around where the bolt went into the tree.”
End Post .
Well, jest aside, it is the same thing with some projects. Result is what happens.
Result is not what is committed to the management or to the customer. And usually there are enough good reasons to explain why it happened. Such as extraneous environmental factors like weather or political sensitivity like a civic disturbance. Such as a customer deliberately or otherwise taking advantage of a poorly worded contract to expand the scope or demand services beyond originally envisaged. Etc. Etc.
The project manager is expected to foresee at least some of these risks and plan out mitigation strategies. If it is not done so or if the mitigation strategies are not effective, it is strongly advisable for the project manager to stop the continuing week-after-week agony, step back, rethink and re-plan with customer’s help.
What one finds, instead, is insufficient thinking and action to contain to whatever extent the impact of such uncontrollable developments. These are protrayed as given and the project lives from week to week.
If the factors are absolutely immitigable, then these must be factored into the contract and the original plan. Example: doing field survey in monsoon or severe winter. Though uncommon, I’ve seen projects executed in a start – stop mode these factors permitting. Another interesting example is where a more fundamental change in approach was needed as a solution to insurmountable problems – given the difficulties in freezing requirements with users in advance despite best efforts, the very methodology of developing software has undergone a transformation now using agile methods for success.
Barring those outliers (usually the R & D kind), can project outcomes also be as certain as taxes and death? We may not be there yet, but it certainly helps a long way if project management does not let reasons override results.