Friday, October 14, 2005

Ramones Project Management

This appears to be a genuiune essay by two US Air Force Majors on what the Department of Defence could learn from the Ramones. Maj. Quaid is assigned to the Technical Executive Office of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Maj. Dan Ward is assigned to the Air Force Research Lab.
The Ramones were some of the first pioneers of what came to be known as punk rock. Their music was hard-driving, stripped-down, and straightforward. They didn't embellish their tunes or themselves with the baroque flourishes and fancy fluff of their glam-rock colleagues. Perhaps that's because they only knew three chords between them, but more likely their decision to avoid gold-plating and hairspray was a practical expression of a deeply held philosophy that rejected extraneous trills in favor of a driving beat. Had they become PMs for the DoD, they undoubtedly would have pursued simplicity and maintained a laser-like focus on achieving their real objectives.
You just couldn't distract these guys--they knew their business and got right down to it. They would never have tolerated the No-Value-Added nonsense that often springs up in our bureaucratic organizations, no matter how well intentioned. And that makes them pretty good examples for the rest of us to consider. ..............

To be honest it may also be as good an insight into why large government IT projects fail as this much longer and more earnest piece from Prospect which makes a similar point like this

Big IT projects everywhere are far more likely to fail than small ones. A high proportion of government IT projects are, by necessity, very large. A change in taxes or benefits will involve thousands of new procedures, interacting in unpredictable ways. Ian Watmore, chief information officer, says that services that other large countries might organise at a state or regional level, such as driving licences, are run as national systems in Britain. But big organisations in Britain, like the NHS, also seem to seek out large-scale suppliers to match large-scale projects, whereas in the Netherlands (see the argument in the last section of this article) public agencies split up contracts into very small packages of work.

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