Monday, November 05, 2007

Everything is Priority One

I’ve written many times about the lack of project management at work.

Everything stems from the top-down, and obviously working under any of the standard professional project management methods isn’t a high priority for management.

What is a high priority is everything.

My manager will tell me one week that my high priority where I should focus all my work efforts is on one thing. Then the next day, she’ll just drop a bomb on my desk, telling me that is my high priority.

When everything has to be done now, right away, no exceptions, you end up with burnt out staff, and mistakes in the things we do.

Little tiny mistakes that normally would be caught, go out with a deliverable, simply because we’re too damn burned out to notice.

All this, because the executive doesn’t believe in project management.

Project management isn’t a hard concept to grasp – there are life cycles or stages of development for all projects. Every person knows where, when and what needs to be done at each stage, and time lines are created to accommodate those needs for each stage.

See – if I can describe it at a basic level in one paragraph, you’d think some high-brow executive with years of experience not only knows about this, but knows the consequences of not using it.

The consequences are evident throughout the organization – laziness, unhappiness, and the biggest complaint of all – there is never enough time to do anything.

The reason there is never enough time to do anything is because without project management of some form, everything comes out of nowhere, and needs to be done now, right away – priority number one.

But if everyone already has several priority number one’s – when do they find time to do them all? How do you ensure the jobs get done correctly? How do you test and re-test to ensure there are no mistakes?

The answer – you don’t.

Garbage in equals garbage out – an old saying with lots of truth to it. In comes more trash, just to be shovelled out as fast to make way for new trash. There are no checks or balances to ensure the projects get completed well, or even on time.

And because everything is so rushed, people stop caring. I don’t know how many times I have heard my manager say she doesn’t care about quality, just so long as we get it done. “We’ll worry about that the next time” or “we’ll fix it in the next release” are very common phrases my manager uses.

These phrases indicate the projects she does do, don’t matter anymore, because she’s burnt out just like the rest of us.

But those things that were supposed to be fixed in the next round – don’t get fixed, there isn’t any time. Garbage in, garbage out.

No comments:

Post a Comment