Chapter 5. The Hitchhiker's Guide to Project Management

"Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

After a number of years of managing and leading programs and projects, it seems that most IT projects can be defined as:

primarily an endeavor initiated by people who can't describe what they want, constructed by people who can't describe what they do, and delivered to people who can't understand what was built.

There are numerous variants on the preceding statement, but they generally point to a similar end; something in the project scope gets missed, requirements are misinterpreted or reinterpreted, and the end result is not what the customer was expecting.

Here are a few tools, precepts, principles, and guiding concepts to help you navigate the minefield of managing high-risk, high-intensity, confrontational, and otherwise high-stress projects and yet continue to keep an even emotional state, get some sleep, and function with a level head while others around you are bouncing off the walls in crisis mode. While some of the principles may appear to be tongue-in-cheek observations, they always address an underlying issue. Truth is usually more hilarious than fiction, and always remember: Comedy is a very serious business.

Notice that there are no rules. Rules are for sports that are administered by referees. Managing a project is not an athletic event, contrary to what most CEOs ...

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