Sunday, September 03, 2006

Pithy thayings

The reason this blog is called what it is called is this:

Over the years I have acquired a reputation as having a collection of sayings, things that summarize what is going on, often in a way that people have not heard before, and with a certain ironic humour to them. Look under the title of the blog. "What the hooker said about sex" is a fine example of the genre.

People say "You should write a book." I know people who have written books, and it's not as easy as it sounds. But a working title occurred to me, and that is how "Half Wisdom, Half Wit" was born.

I work in the engineering business, and we engineer projects that get built by construction companies. So a lot of my sayings revolve around what is happening in the project business. Some are original, some are borrowed/copied. All have their place, and, presumably, places where they do not belong.

Here are some favorites. I'll add to the list as time goes along.

"You can't make a baby in a month, even if you find nine friendly women". Used when we are tempted to try to speed things up by putting more people on a project. The rebuttal is: "Yes, but you can adopt one." Used when suggesting that there may still be other ways to solve the problem.

"The caboose blames the boxcar because the train is late." Used when construction blames engineering for the schedule having run out of time. Related to "The month you piss away at the start (because you didn't see the urgency) is the same month we have to make up working double shifts at the finish."

Which in turn is related to "Accordion Scheduling" where the start date moves but the end date is kept unchanged. "Mastercard project management". Used for describing cost reporting that has to wait for the actuals to come in to know how much has been spent.

Hardly knee-slappers, I know, and more useful to get people to recognize what is going on than for general hilarity and amusement. I still think Peter Drucker said it best: "The purpose of organizations is to enable common men to achieve uncommon things." Organizations work, for better or for worse, through and with the spirit of people, and the spirit responds to leadership. In my opinion the best leaders can identify with today's reality as experienced by "Danny Drafter" and can let Danny Drafter know that they have no illusions, but are not held back by current reality.

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