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Manager Slang: Get Well

July 12th, 2012 · No Comments

by Dwayne Phillips

Project managers often use major changes to “get well.” They use the confusion of a major change to cover over lots of problems.

Projects change. That appears to be a fact of life. Every now and then, a major change occurs. Examples include,

  • Two large organizations merge
  • A large organization splits into several smaller ones
  • A large change occurs in a project (work is added)
  • There is a big shift in persons working on a project

Major changes bring confusion. People plan, and some people plan every single detail. They don’t, however, plan perfectly. There are many, “Oh, I didn’t think of that one,” moments in a major change. Some people take advantage of the natural confusion that occurs in major changes.

They “hide” problems in the confusion.

That isn’t difficult to do. It is quite easy to do. Often, it is quite advantageous to do. This is the origin of the slang in the post title.

The manager uses the confusion of the change to “get well.”

For example, a manager is managing a project. The person who pays the bills walks in and says, “I want you to do more work on this project. This is the extra work. Tell me how much additional money I need to send you to perform the additional work.”

The project manager estimates that an additional $100 is needed to do the additional work. The project manager also knows that the project is overrunning costs on several items. The project manager tells the person who pays the bills that the additional work requires an additional $200.

The person who pays the bills says something like, “Hmmm, that is much more than I expected.”

The project manager says something like, “Well, you have to understand that it will take a lot of work to move from the current tasks to the additional tasks, there are additional support people needed to support the additional work, and besides there are lots of little technical and managerial details that I don’t expect you to understand and I don’t want to take all of  your time and aren’t you bored yet and ready to walk away and leave me alone and just accept the new price tag?”

If all this sounds a bit sneaky, well, I consider it a bit sneaky as well. I approve of total honesty and openness, but, then again, many people tell me that I am naive about these things.

Tags: Change · Communication · Estimation · Management · Uncategorized

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