Projects in the Real World – Part 2
RE-DEFINING PROJECTS IN THE REAL WORLD – Series 2
“Projects are coping with a perpetual series of incessant crisis”.
Three words capture the essence of the ‘project crisis’ statement – perpetual, series and incessant.
Firstly, every project is a ‘crisis’ That is an inherent element in a project. Every activity in a project is performed as though it is the ‘last activity’ and there is no time left to complete it.
Secondly, the crisis in a project is always ‘incessant’ defined as ‘something regarded as unpleasant, continuing without pause or interruption’.
Thirdly, and worse, it compounds by occurring in ‘a perpetual series throughout the duration of the project.’ Members in the project team in whatever level will realize that as one crisis occurs and is resolved, another crisis has already commenced and sometimes it occurs in multiple areas of the project.
Let’s see some examples of crisis happening even before the project ticks off its first set of execution tasks:
- A multi-million-dollar engagement commences with a letter of intent. The client and the contractor/consultant are still battling with the terms of the contract and the contract is not signed off. Work has progressed and still no contract – crisis!
- A project manager walking into the newly assigned project finds the ‘scope of work’ill-defined and so begins to finalize the scope with the client. Time has elapsed in the project and still no defined and agreed scope – crisis!
- A project manager walks into the Human Resources Department with a bunch of manpower requisitions for his key positions to be recruited fast-track. The HR Department treats the requisitions as a part of the normal business process which probably takes 3 months for on-boarding candidates. The project manager has no resources to perform the key tasks as yet – crisis!
- A team of IT consultants are to be mobilized into the project next week but here is the project manager battling with the procurement of computers as the empaneled vendor of the organization does not have stocks to supply- crisis!
- A gas-pipeline contract is kicked off and on the first day of the project they team finds a bunch of villagers spearheaded by a local politician, ganging up and objecting to the pipeline passing through their neighborhood – despite all the government clearances – crisis!
Anyone can visualize that if this is the case of crisis hitting the project even before the first activity is performed and completed – what can crop up during the project progress. A project is better off if realisation happens early that they are going to witness incessant crisis coming up in a perpetual series. Coping with this crisis is a project reality.
Ram N Ramakrishnan
Executive Director – Client Services