I love it when a (project) plan comes together

I went out with my wife for dinner at a local restaurant. We went with some long standing friends for a quiet and relaxed evening.

The service was really poor. My meal arrived first and our friends arrived around 3 minutes after mine and despite many requests from us all, my wife’s meal eventually arrived around 10 minutes later. Our friends steak was sent back because it was too rare.

It was a spoilt evening. We paid the reduced bill and left. The owners of the restaurant apologised saying they were new however we pointed out that it was obvious that they were not yet ready to serve meals effectively; we were not the only ones complaining.

After a few days I started to think about the meal. It reminded me of many projects we have seen where only part of the project is delivered….the other part (meal) is still being cooked!

  • It reminded me of the project which was late because, “a supplier delivered late” but when I asked them about the company they pointed out that they had a reputation of delivering late. Yet the risk log did not show this and the project plan had no preventative measures on it.
  • It reminded me of the project manager who said that the project did not pass a simple acceptance test. When questioned, the project manager said he had not asked the client what standards they wanted and simply delivered the project! My friend clearly asked for a “well done, steak”, he received one which was rare and it went back.
  • It reminded me of the project team who carried out a simulation of the process they were working on. The simulation showed errors which they corrected before the go live date for the actual project. The end result was a project delivered on time, to budget and to the client’s standards. The local restaurant should have carried out trial runs to ensure they had their timings correct and the team were co-ordinated effectively.

So, next time you are out eating think about your projects. Are you making sure everything is sequenced correctly? Have you built into your plan a ‘simulation’ – a mock up of the process you working on? Are you checking on the customer’s quality standards and what risks are there?

Bon appetite, oh and by the way, we have not been back to that restaurant! 

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