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From: Thomas Day <>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 09:59:46 -0800
Message-ID: <>

Way off topic, but I just have to vent.

I'm working with a guy who really is hot stuff when it comes to project management. He's so good that they brought him in as an outside consultant to manage a priority project that touches on national security. He knows all about the mythical man-month so the first thing that he did was pare the project down to the minimum, competent staff.

Nine months later the project is on-time and on-target. A few technology issues to work out but he has very competent people who don't have to spend all day in meetings to decide whether the database should be orange, blue or mauve.

Then the VP from the prime contractor decides that he has already achieved his (the VP's) performance goals for the year and will get his nice, hefty bonus. He doesn't want the extra money from this contract to be booked this fiscal year because that will set the performance goal bar that much higher for next year. So the VP goes to the gumment contracting officer and negotiates a three month extension of the contract, but with no extra money. This has the effect of shifting that money from this year's accounting to next year's and gives the VP a leg up on next year's bonus.

But it also means that three month's worth of money now has to pay for six month's worth of work. The only way to do it is to let half the staff go. Normally you'd just prune the deadwood but that was done right out of the box.

Result: VP gets his bonus and is well on the way to next year's bonus. But the project is on life support. Critical skills are no longer available. The project just might fail because the necessary people aren't there any more.

STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! Apologies to any VPs out there. I'm sure you wouldn't do that.


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Author: Thomas Day

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