Home > management, technical > Plan, Plan, Plan…. Blah, Blah, Blah.

Plan, Plan, Plan…. Blah, Blah, Blah.

Preface

People followed Martin Luther King of their own free will because he had a dream, not a plan. – Simon Sinek

On the other hand, know-it-all business school trained weenies will profess (in a patriachical and condescending tone):

Failing to plan is planning to fail – Unknown

Irrelevant Intro

When I started this relatively loooong blarticle, I had no freakin’ idea where it would go but I followed where it led me. Led by the unknown into the unknown – it was the keystone cops leading the three (nyuk nyuk nyuk)  stooges (whoo, whoo, whoo, boink, plunk, pssst!).

As usual, I didn’t have a meticulously well formed plan for this time-waster ( <- for you, heh, heh) in my fallible cranium and I made many mid-course corrections as I crab-walked like a drunken sailor toward the finish line. Hell, I didn’t even know where the freakin’ finish line was. I stopped iteratively writing/drawing when I subjectively concluded that….. tada, “I’ve arrived!”.  Such is the nature of exploration, discovery, and exposition, no? If you disagree, why?

Pristine Profile – Full Steam Ahead!

The figure below shows the shape of a pristine, planned, cost vs time profile at “project start” for a long term, resource-intensive, project to do something “big and grand for the world”. Some one or some group has consulted their crystal ball and concocted a cost vs schedule curve based on vague, subjective criteria, and bolstered by a set of ridiculously optimistic assumptions and a bogus risk register “required for signoff“. To coverup the impending calamity, the schedule has been enunciated to the troops as “aggressive“. BTW, have you ever heard of a non-aggressively scheduled big project?

It’s interesting to note that the dudes/dudettes who “craft” cost profiles for big quagmire projects are never the ones who’ll roll up their sleeves, get dirty, and actually do the downstream work. Even if the esteemed planners are smart enough to actually humbly ask for estimates from those who will do the work, they automatically chop them down to size based on whim, fancy, and political correctness. <- LOL!

Typical Profile – Bummer

The figure below shows (in hindsight) the actual vs planned cost curve for a hypothetical “bummer” project. The project started out overestimated (yes, I actually said overestimated), and then, as the cost encroached into uncomfortable territory, the plan became, uh, optimistic. Since it was underestimated for “political reasons” (what other reason is there?), but no one had a clue as to whether the plan was sane, no acknowledgement of the mistake was made during the entire execution and no replanning was done.  The loss accumulated and accumulated until end game – whatever that means.

Crisis Profile – We’re Vucked!

The figure below shows (in hindsight) the actual vs planned cost curve for a hypothetical “vucked” project. Cost-wise, the project started out OK, but because it was discovered that technical progress wasn’t really, uh,  technical progress, bodies were thrown onto the bonfire.  Again, the financial loss accumulated and accumulated until end game – whatever that means.

Replan Profile – Fantasy Revisited

The figure below shows (in hindsight) the actual vs planned cost curve for a hypothetical “fantasy revisited” project. Cost-wise, the project started out OK (snore, snore, Zzzzz), but because it was discovered that technical progress wasn’t really, uh,  technical progress, bodies were thrown on the bonfire.  But his time, someone with a conscience actually fessed up (yeah, some people are like that, believe it or not) and the project was replanned in real-time, during execution. Alas, this is not Hollywood and the financial loss accumulated and accumulated until end game – whatever that means.

Iterative, Incremental Profile – No Freakin’ Way

Alright, alright. As everyone knows, and this especially includes you, it’s easy to rag about everyone and everything – “everything sux and everyone’s an a-hole; blah, blah, blah…. aargh!”. What about an alternative, Mr. Smarty Pants? Even though I have no idea if it’ll work, try this one on for size (and it’s definitely not original).

The figure below shows (in hindsight) the actual vs planned cost curve for a hypothetical “no freakin’ way” project. But wait a minute, you cry. There’s only one curve! Shouldn’t there be two curves you freakin’ bozeltine? There’s only one because the actual IS the planned. This can be the case because if the planning increments are small enough, they can almost equate to the actual expenditures. At each release and re-evaluation point, the real thing, which is the product or service that is being provided (product and service are unknown concepts to bureaucrats and executive fatheads), is both objectively and subjectively evaluated by the people who will be using the damn thing in the future. If they say “This thing sux!”, its fini, kaput, end game before scheduled end game. If they say “Good job so far! I can envision this thing helping me do my job better with a few tweaks and these added features”, then it’s onward. The chances are high that with this type of rapid and dynamic learning  SCRBF system in place, projects that should be killed will be killed, and projects that should continue will continue. Agree, or disagree? What say you?

This hypothetical project is called “No Freakin’ Way” because there is “no freakin’ way” that the system of co-dependent failure designed and kept in place by hierarchs in both contractor and contractee institutions will ever embrace it. What do you think?

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