Monday, March 21, 2011

My Bruce Pearl Story

For my project management followers, I apologize for the off topic post.

The news abounds today about the firing of Bruce Pearl, Head Basketball Coach, University of Tennessee. I believe that more and more stories will come out as to what happened and different allegations. While I don't condone the NCAA infractions and the misleading that Bruce has already admitted to, I definitely do not condone bringing this story out before our first game in the NCAA tournament. That is too much pressure to put on college kids already under tremendous pressure. I do not know all of the facts about the case, but I do think that Bruce leaving hurts the University of Tennessee. There are many critics, but what he has done to bring energy to the program is without question or equal. I think Tennessee basketball will be setback several years as a result. With all of that said, I wanted to share what type of person that I think Bruce was and it is illustrated with a simple picture.

I had just finished doing some consulting for UT and taken my family to the Tennessee vs. UCLA game. On Sunday, as we were leaving the hotel, I saw Bruce outside. I had asked my wife Stephanie to get the camera. She couldn't find it. She searched and searched the bags. When she told me she had found the camera, I turned to ask Coach for a picture. By that time, he had gotten into his car, started it, and was about to leave. I said, "Hey Coach" and turned to see him in his car. I quickly turned back around thinking that we had missed the opportunity. Coach Pearl turned off his car and opened the door and shouted, "Did you want a picture?" I said that I did. He got out of the car and then graciously took a picture with me and my children.

For me, that told me all that I needed to know about Coach Pearl. He was a man of the fans. He understood that his role was more than coach, it was also ambassador. Painting his chest, rapping at a concert, and the genuine excitement that he had for Tennessee Basketball will be hard to match. Most coaches that come in already have to coach under the shadow of the great Pat Summitt. Now, they have to work under the shadow of Coach Pearl as well. Coach Pearl has such a large heart and passion and it shows. His team loves him and it shows. He loved the University of Tennessee and it shows.

I am sure that Tennessee had cause. Coach Pearl has already admitted that he had done wrong. I wish that both sides could have worked it out. Some of our greatest icons in sports had to overcome being human. Could we not have embraced and nurtured to overcome this one? Coach Pearl has done wrong and should shoulder the consequences. Being suspended 8 games, docked $1.5 million, and publicly humiliated out to be enough.

To Coach Pearl, good luck to you and you will be sorely missed by the Vol Nation.

A Sad Vol Fan,

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Resource WAR

Project managers are often faced with limited resources and tight time frames. They are also on the hook for the project success or failure. This often means the covertly degrading of quality to slam in the project just to satisfy the deadlines. However, it is difficult for most project managers to articulate their needs for resources. Therefore, I have come up with an anagram for you to remember how to phrase the discussion to your sponsors to give them options for project deadlines.

If you have ever heard me speak, I often state that the best mindset for a project manager is the one that never says no. I say, "I can absolutely do that, here is what I need." I also teach to ask either/or questions instead of yes/no. So this brings me to the resource WAR:

W - WAIT - We can wait for the resources to become available.
A - AUGMENT or ACQUIRE - We can go hire consultants, a vendor, or get some contractors to do the work
R - REDIRECT - We can redirect the resources from another project to this one.

For every project that is resource constrained, those are your options. The key is to get the data for each of the options so that you can present it to the sponsor appropriately. For example:

W - Find out when the resources will be available. For this example, we will assume October of this year.
A - Find out the cost of the consultant or contractor.
R - Find out which projects the resources are working on.

Once you have the data, it is time to present what you have learned to the sponsor:

PM: Mr. or Ms. Sponsor, in order to deliver the timeframe that you have requested, I will need three more resources or the date could slide to December of this year.
Sponsor: December? We need this to be done by July!
PM: The resources that we need are not available until October. I did find out that we could bring in a consultant for $XX.
Sponsor: We do not have additional budget.
PM: What about diverting the resources from project XX to this one?
Sponsor: We can't stop that project.
PM: It seems our options are to wait until December, hire the consultant, or redirect the resources. What would you like to do?

That may seem over-simplistic, but in reality, what are the other options? Get ready for the resource WAR. Get the data and present it to your sponsors. Good luck out there!