Monday, February 10, 2014

Meatloaf? It's as Easy as 1-2-...

Now don't be sad, 'cause two out of three ain't bad.  - Meat Loaf, '70s rock star

For an infinite amount of time before The Project Management Book of Knowledge was published and became a standard reference for the PM industry, universal project management truths had, nevertheless, existed. The PMBOK, IMHO, simply helped pull them all together in a linear format, allowing managers of all stripes and industries to learn a structured sequence and speak a common language. Dry as toast, its content does, at least, provide a sound and sensible process for placing horse before the cart, as it were.

Personally, my own greatest takeaway from CSUs PM program some years ago was not the intricacies of PMBOK, per se, yet the foundation of, first and foremost, knowing exactly what my resource ingredients were ~ and how they should fit onto the larger dish in order to best satisfy the clients' appetites for success. This recipe has found to hold true when embarking on any major estate renovation project, or even something as simple as putting together a light brunch.

To the point, anyone tasked on their estate with getting from A to Z, no matter how large or small the task itself, will be comforted to know the three basic factors to wrangle always remain constant: quality, time, and money. And, as much as we'd like to have our projects' plans fired up in all three pans, as Michael Lee Aday, aka Meat Loaf, so eloquently reminded us throughout the late-70's... two out of three ain't bad.

Delicious... and a training aid.  Who knew?!
To succulently present this idea, let's first admit it's natural to want most things in life and at work: good, fast, and cheap. However, mixing together a recipe for realism begins with the idea that however we prioritize any one of the three will impact the other two and, consequently, the project success, as defined, keep in mind, within the clients' own minds.

So then, how does this all play out... within the context of our domestic estate employment? Well... let's have some fun and look at how a project of preparing a dish of, oh, let's say, for instance... meatloaf, for our employer to enjoy as part of a casual afternoon sports event with friends in their private and cozy theater room. Depending on your resources, you'll now have some important decisions to make:

Quality: Will ordinary ground beef with canned bread crumbs and a quick pour from an open carton of Eggbeaters - all probably available now in your kitchen - meet all expectations for a good entree, or will only the most nutritious and tasty organic, grass-fed Kobe beef need to be freshly ground, moments before folding in the just-toasted and chopped sourdough bread, together with a couple of free-range organic eggs?

Time: How fast do you need the meatloaf ready? Did you just find out about the gathering a few minutes ago, or have you known for several days? Is it the chef's day
You get TWO. That's all!
off and your own culinary acumen is being put to the test? Do you have other obligations equally as pressing that morning which leaves pulling out a frozen, boxed meatloaf from the garage freezer and nuking it for eight minutes as the only, realistic option?

Money: Is today near the end of your household culinary account's credit card cycle and you're now expected to keep this event on the cheap to keep from running over the monthly budget? If you did opt for Kobe, how would that impact what you could spend on other items, knowing that each months expenditures must be regularly reviewed and justified with the family office CFO, especially after having been given clear instructions to reduce, not increase, the event food and beverage budget for this coming year?

Two out of three fans agree that Meat Loaf
was a great project manager.

Now, be forewarned, having the popular 70s tune playing in your head during project meetings may, or may not, assist you in keeping this universal truth at the forefront of plans while presenting both your Gantt charts and promises to the principal. Still, knowing what to mix in and what to leave out will make all the difference, when the final dish is served.

Two out of three ain't only not bad, knowing how to pick the right two on your estate will always be good.