Wednesday, July 27, 2016

"Jack, Jane, and the cat" AKA "The pragmatic project manager"

Jane, last year, gifted his boyfriend Jack, a kitten for Christmas.
Jack is a professional photographer, and his job, during the year, keeps him away from home for several weeks in a row.
In January, Jack went in Brasil for a 6 weeks photo-shooting job in the Amazonian forest. He did not give the cat in custody to someone, nor left food in some kind of automatic dispenser for the cat to eat.
When Jack came back from Brasil, on his way from the airport, he bought 40 liters of milk. That was enough for the kitten to eat for the previous 6 weeks with an extra bonus for its patience.
When Jack arrived home, with his great surprise, the cat was dead. Starved.
Jack burst into tears, shouting "Why did you die stupid cat? Why didn't you just wait?I have brought you more food to you than you would have never dreamed of in your entire life. You, selfish animal, would not believe it,"
Jane left him the very next day, as soon as Jack told her the whole story. 
Jack is still wondering what he did wrong.

What does this story teach us?

When a Sponsor (Jane) entrust you (Jack) a project (the kitten), be absolutely clear about 2 things
  • That you share with the stakeholders the vision about when the project should start to deliver value or revenues, and
  • That you can manage the project in such a fashion to cope with the stakeholders expectations.
If the stakeholders expect value or even revenues in the first 2 months, and you manage the project in such a fashion to deliver value not before 8 months, do not be surprised to be let down (Jane left you).

Sometimes you just need some early win, to keep interest in the project. In some cases, it doesn't matter what you would be able to deliver a year from now, if you cannot cope with earlier deliveries.
Some projects are just like pets; they need something early and cyclically in their lives.

Don't be like Jack, do not disappoint your stakeholders. 

Be clear about the expected time for delivering values or revenues, and prepare yourself to cope with the expectations.Consider to plan for some early win.