“The stupidity of project management”

Brendan and I are writing a book on Project Management. While we have plenty of experience in both large and small projects and have lots to contribute through a book, I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to get input from the very intelligent readers of this blog.

So; what would you like to read in a book titled, “The stupidity of Project Management”?

Asking the youth for the simple solutions

Every year the organization “Operasjon Dagsverk” (eng. Operation Day’s Work) arranges for students in junior high and highschools to contribute one day’s work to a charity cause.

The students takes responsibility for finding a place to work for a day. The company that accepts the student pays NOK 300 to that year’s charity and puts the student to work. This year the money goes to an educational project in Guatemala. The day was this Thursday (31st October).

My oldest son, Niklas (14) asked if he and two friends could work at Å (a-circle.no). Obviously I took the opportunity. I got the idea of charging them with the task of creating two generic business models – one for Project Management and one for IT Service Management.

The boys got to work and in less than two hours, they delivered an intriguingly simple model for Project Management. Their “SUKK”-model pinpoints responsibilities in a project far better than the ruling model of PRINCE2.


Their model for IT Service Management was even more succinct and with excellent focus on exact responsibilities. While ITIL is perhaps the best professional model for corroding responsibility in an IT organization, their SAO model goes straight for the kill with no wishy-washy or overlapping responsibilities.


In addition to this, I got them to define the term “delivery” and had them write down exact deliveries for roles such as “a baker”, “a teacher”, “a student”, “a Prime Minister” and “an architect” as well as writing down their own personal deliveries in life. I have done this exercise many times with groups of executives and experts from businesses and government agencies. These boys were amazing and I believe they did a better and more efficient job than any other group I’ve seen.

The NOK 900 generated amazing value as I will use the results from this day in many seminars and talks to come.

Thanks to Niklas, Isak and Alf-Johan.

Project management, “Å style”

The short and sweet way of doing project management is covered at the end of our new article on PRINCE2.

It deserves its own blog post so as not to drown in the PRINCE2 primer. Here goes:

The company “Å” (Brendan and me) is truly a “cut the crap”-company. We inspire and enthuse people and help them realize their potential. We help people take 100% responsibility and to excel in their communication with others. This is why we try to keep formal structures at a minimum. This is why we see methodologies such as PRINCE2 as a casual toolbox and not as an end-all. And without further ado, here is how we practice project management, regardless of the size of the project. Here’s a short HyperList showing just how we do it:

Project Management, Å-style
            Supplier and the Customer agree on the Project
                  Measurable Project Product(s)
                  Resources needed
            People with 100% reponibilities are appointed
            [?] Documents
            Project is delivered
                  Work is assigned, executed and approved
            [? issues arise] Parties agree on issue handling or to stop the project
            Benefits Review
            [?] Project report; CONTAINS:
                  Project Product(s)
                  Project Benefits
                  Lessons Learned
                  Recommended actions after Project

PRINCE2 – Project management methodology

Simple and straight

We just completed an article on the project management methodology called PRINCE2 – Projects IN Controlled Environments, version 2. From the article:

The purpose of this article is to provide the shortest possible description of PRINCE2, to compact the methodology and make it easier to understand and implement also in small projects.


PRINCE2 contains three major parts consisting of 7 principles, 7 themes (tools) and 7 processes. A brief explanation of each is provided in this article. At the end of the article, you will also find a much simpler, leaner way of looking at project management.

For the rest of the article, read it on the Å wiki.