Saturday, October 4, 2008

And the scrappy winners are...

On your right you will not see the winners of the First Ever Scrappy PM Contest. You will not see them because this was a virtual contest conducted completely via email and US Postal mail. So, although these people took all the time to get dressed up, and are smiling widely, they are from some other award ceremony somewhere else in the world and have nothing at all to do with this award. But, there were four of them, they were dressed nicely, were smiling, and are holding awards, and that's good enough for me. Another thing about these four people: all though they appear to be happy, they are clearly not as scrappy as the real winners, whose entries are summarized below.

Winners submitted a brief summary of an aspect to their projects in which they demonstrated scrappiness in their projects and the top stories received a free copy of Kimberly Wiefling's "Scrappy Project Management" book. These are now on the way to the deserving winners, each illustrating their scrappiness in different ways, and in different environments, although all challenging.

Below are slightly-edited versions of the submissions.

Prabhu of Texas, USA says:
I had been a tech for nearly 15 years before taking on a formal PM role in mid 2006. When I started executing my first project, there was a contract project team member who felt insecure dealing with me, given my technical and product knowledge. The person was disrespectful, and used to blatantly ignore my email and telephone messages. They didn't consistently report status, and generally made project life difficult and frustrating for me. I never caved in, didn't escalate, and the troublesome team member chose to draw a line in the sand. She went to management, saying "it's him or me". Management, even with only a short sample of my work, let the unhappy team member go.

Sindhu of France says:
I am currently working on a portal project which involves a very aggressive and demanding customer. I'm an Indian PM working in France. My team is 80% french and 20% American, and the customer is a global organization. Cooking with these ingredients for the recipe is a mean chef's job. The minority American team will do only what they feel is right, and the majority will work only from 9 to 12 and 2-6 (note the 2 hour lunch). As the PM, I am having to coordinate team effectiveness with all of these constraints in the scrappiest way I can!

Phillip of California, USA says:
We had a project to replace a vendor’s GUI. Three outside consultants were trying to sabotage the project. The PMO threatened to cancel it unless I took it over. My boss was chagrined. He though the project could only fail. I warned the consultants to “cease and desist” or they were gone from all contracts in the county. In 2 weeks we were on track and completed the project on schedule successfully. Sadly it was not used. A major upgrade was starting and our interface was so much better it was certain the users would not accept the upgrade version.

Stephanie of Florida, USA says:
A former director consistently complained about our projects’ time and expense requirements, yet refused to take advantage of emerging technologies that would’ve eased both – claiming that there was “no guarantee of return on investment.” I decided to purchase a web-based application myself, using it to create modules that communicated project updates and training details, which stakeholders could review online at their own pace. This lowered the time spent on communication, and significantly reduced expenses since we no longer had to travel to multiple sites to provide training. From that point forward my director’s mantra became “No risk, no reward.”

Thanks to author Kimberly Wiefling, and of course to all of you who submitted entries. May you have contiued scrappiness and happiness!

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