Wednesday 4 June 2014

The accordion principle of project management

The bellow of the bellows
I have always been fascinated by the music of the accordion, the player playing the treble piano side and the pressing the bass buttons to something that sounds more like folk music than anything else.
More so, the player moves the concertina bellows, something rhythmically whilst playing keys and buttons all learnt by practice because they do not have sight of keys or buttons as they play.
Yet, I have found use for the accordion not so much to play music but in expressing the fear of being squeezed in the concertina folds of a project because other elements of time, resource and cost have not been properly managed and I am pressured to deliver to atrociously contrived ends.
The project squeeze
The project manager decides what music they want to play, the rhythm, the tempo and that is how listeners might get entertained or even dare to dance.
Some projects managers however do play such dastardly music that not only would people cover their ears, they might instead pick up stones to pelt the accordionist.
We the project resources who fall between the bass and treble ends of the accordion are squeezed until our pips squeak if we do not react, respond, advice and escalate when we need to, to ensure we are not completely crushed and carrying the blame for a badly run project.
Play that funky music
I love good music and what document as much as I can is evidence of where I have striven not be part of the bellows to help in deciding how the music is played, to whose hearing and for what purpose.
In the end, as much as the project manager, I want to be involved into making good music too, that is how the discussion went earlier today, whether good music would result is anyone’s guess, but in the cacophony that ensued, maybe some silence is what we need to retune the accordion and try a different tune.
That is the accordion principle of project management.

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