About Real And Fake Projects

Dec 7, 2008   //   by Hackadelic   //   Blog, Featured  //  No Comments
This entry is part of a series, Project Management Thoughts»

aFacadeDuring my career, I’ve occasionally encountered a certain type of project – a facade project.

I’m talking about the kind of “project” defined purely for administration purposes, and otherwise lacking the immanent properties of a real project, such as, and most importantly, a defined goal, and a limited time.

In fact, such “projects” are effectively just effort containers. I usually see them when the company’s administration and accounting system enforced upon project management is too cumbersome to setup for every real project, especially for “smaller” projects. Instead, a sort of administrative container for ongoing effort is set up. The container is often tied to a specific client, though I’ve also seen facade projects to cover a topic.

So, is there any harm with this?

Not if everybody (and I mean literally everybody) knows the difference between reality and the terms used to describe it, and acts accordingly. But project work is done by people, and human communication adheres to certain principles. I suspect, on the long term a shift will occur from the intended towards the spoken meaning. Whether it’ll do any harm and to what degree depends on the organization, but generally there is subtle but steady harm of applying project management methods and techniques to non-projects. In particular, I suspect there’d be substantial money going into the (inadequate) project management effort, compared to more adequate methods.

An ever-recurring thought arises again:

It is common to measure the cost of what we do. But how do we measure the cost of what we don’t do, or don’t do differently?

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