“It Is What It Is”
This book does not imply that if the PM says it, senior management will
do it. This is not always the case. Sometimes, you have to adopt the atti-
tude of “It is what it is” and report appropriately. You must understand
that even with the best plans, options, arguments, and facts, senior
management still may not do what is being requested. They may con-
tinue down a wrong path. In these cases, proper project management
can still be followed, and the truth will eventually come out.
A project was failing, and Dion, the new PM, was the fourth per-
son assigned. Dion had a reputation of being able to turn around the
impossible, and senior management was tired of the lack of progress on
the project. Dion assessed the situation and developed a plan. The team
had told him that the project’s progress was extremely slow due to the
working conditions. They were developing software with their client
who was in one state, the server that they were working on was in an-
other, and they were located in a third state. There were three develop-
ers, all trying to get to one server. If one developer made a mistake, it
would corrupt the development environment, and the server would also
lose the work that the other developers were completing. This was hap-
pening often. The team stated they felt that they would get at least a 75
percent productivity boost if the server could be located where they
were or at least if an interim server could be located with the develop-
ment staff that would communicate with the server in the other state. It
made perfect sense to Dion. He presented the options to the senior
manager who was acting as the internal sponsor on the project. The
senior manager immediately shot down the idea. No explanation was
given. The senior manager then demanded that Dion come up with a
new plan and a new schedule for completion and get back to him imme-
diately.
Dion went back to the team somewhat dejected but continued to
do the work. He sat with the project team and received new estimates
on how long the project would take to complete, but he had to account
for the corruption issues that were occurring in the development envi-
ronment. This problem extended the project much further than the sen-
ior manager had originally anticipated. When presented with this infor-
mation, the senior manager said, “No way! We are going to change our
whole development methodology! We have a client call in 30 minutes, I
will handle this!” The senior manager then took over the customer call.
Turning Around Failing Projects 51

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