A little less poetic, but nonetheless an absolutely foolproof backup line, if someone tries to nail you down to an unpleasant decision. Also one of my favorites:

I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant.

Economics and Ethics – Further running down the hill

Sure, I am not much of an economist and being just a physicist maybe I should only bother with stuff I understand. But when I came across this article while reading through my usual morning news websites, I simply had to include it here.

That one pretty much resembles my view of businesses doing business with other people’s money: once you do it and get stuck there, you loose your traction. It’s called greed. Sad though that it seems to have only grown in recent years, despite all warning signs.

But hey, traction is something I know about: you may neglect its importance but without it, well, you don’t get far…

Check out the original article here

The people of Get there

This is the attempt to write down an approach to project management that occurred to me on a running tour.

The “Get there” approach is based on the assumption that a project team consists of the following work types:

The Visionary
Someone to drive innovation, knows what is going on “in the world” and not at all hesitant to give directions. Does not like to be kept from his vision, even though that vision might be blurry for most other team members and sometimes even for himself.

The Man of Action
This is the one everyone else is relying on, if there is something to be done. Likes to have his work planned in short, precisely defined tasks. Does not like to bother with “head in the clouds”-thinking. Hates the unexpected. Likes to get things done, now…

The Nerd
Someone who likes the Unknown. To him it does not matter, whether or not an idea is realizable at first. Easily becomes absorbed in a fancy idea. Does not like strict work plans and straight routes. Works best, when confronted with obstacles.

The Skeptic
If it were up to him, everything would stay like it is. Change is risky at best. And if change cannot be keep from coming, his duty is to remind everyone of the possible dangers. And cost…cost is the worst of all.

Check back soon to read about ‘The Kickoff’

There is one quote that I think of almost daily. It is attributed to the Austrian zoologist Konrad Lorenz (1903 – 1989) who, based on these great lines, might have made a pretty good project manager as well…

What is thought is not yet said,
what is said is not properly heard,
what is heard is not properly understood,
what is understood is not always accepted,
what is accepted is not always applied,
what is applied is not always kept.

‘Get there’ project management

I recently took my running shoes out for a walk and I thought about work.
I’ve been having quite a few discussions about project management over the years and I still try to figure out what are the key factors for good projects.
My route took me to a stunning view over the Black Forest and the Rhine river. Far away on the horizon one could see the next range of hills. They were almost hidden in the mist, but I could not help thinking of how the view might be, standing on one of those distant hilltops.

And suddenly, there was my analogy to what project management is about.

Ok, I admit that may seem a little far-fetched, but let me explain…

The start of project “Get there”

Let us assume we are a whole group of people, standing where I stood and enjoying that view.  Someone, call him The Visionary, suddenly bursts out “Let us get there!”. And he clarifies his vision by adding: “I see large benefit for us in standing on that distant hilltop. So I want everyone to work on a way to get us there by next month, because after that, the best time in the year for viewing the landscape is over.”

And there you have it: The start of project “Get there”.

Do you want to read more? Check out “the people of project Get there”

Wise (and borrowed) words

When I was younger (Oh my god, am I really typing this?), I disliked people who spend their time reciting the words of other more or less known people. After all, repeating the words of Albert Einstein does not automatically make you any more intelligent. So what sense is there in acting like a parrot?

Make up your own great words!

However, now I am slowly beginning to realize that – given the right circumstances – there might be some sense in citing great minds after all.

Firstly, citing a great person gives your argument more weight. Over the years, I have witnessed quite a few shallow presentations being fired up with a crisp “Let us join in the spirit of…”. In the end, (and if you’re lucky) people tend to remember that saying more than the gaps in your argument.
Secondly, reuse is your friend. Why bother with making up something new when there is plenty of pretty good stuff around already?
And finally, let us be honest: How many really good and catchy sayings did you produce over the years? Maybe one and a half? Yeah, that really pays off to fill all the presentations you wanted to end with an inspiring line during that time.

So, to make it short: I am going to put in here some words I have come across. Cheers!