Thursday, February 19, 2009

Beating a dead horse or being a dead horse

Is there a finite amount of information that can be discussed, in an intelligible way, about project management – or for that case any technical subject (I’m not going to go beyond that). Let’s think of all the various project combinations, chaos points and potential external impact points….if it didn’t go on forever then how can there be new technologies and applications being developed?....all the new interesting personalities being introduced into the process….

The answer is that of course there’s a finite amount of project management information, project management doesn’t go on forever, what we see are just the various project management building blocks being arranged in different ways and being used in different projects by different people.

I remember reading Peopleware by DeMarco/Lister where, I think, in the first paragraph the discussion of how A/R systems are being programmed everyday, using the same A/R rules that have been in effect since the building of the great pyramids and how a large percent of those new systems fail for the same reason…and remembering how relevant it was since I was managing the development of a A/R system that was ‘having issues’. Isn’t this the same for project management, the same steps, ideas and approaches being used and reused since the first caveman project manager oversaw the first caveman IT project?

So, why is it that we continue to study, write and wonder about project management? Probably the same base reason we, as kids, put our fingers to close to the fire – because we really didn’t know it would hurt that bad….project management is about understanding how painful an experience it is to be part of a failed or failing project….the jerking back and wondering why it hurt and then figuring out how to make it not hurt again. We learn from ignoring past lessons, getting deep in trouble and then reinventing what those in the past have learned and tried to pass on. Overall a rambling but enlightening introspection.


  1. Project management can be very sucessful and rewarding. Most project deliver significant benifit to socioty. Some people do make it over prescriptive. Net everyone gets burned.

  2. Some people enjoy the chalenge of delivering a scuessful project for a customer.