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Project Management Anecdote

There is a story (probably true) about a project manager who went to work for a company that produced computer software. This project manager was hired to complete a project that was to produce a significant amount of the company's income for the year, and it had a strict deadline of twelve months. As time went by, the project manager settled in, and after a couple of weeks the project manager's boss asked her how many lines of code had been written for the project (a not too unusual measure for computer programming types). She replied, "Well, none at the moment. We are describing the user's requirements and doing some planning for the project, but no, we have no lines of code written." This seemed to satisfy her manager for the time being, and the project manager continued her work. After about a month the project manager's boss showed up again and asked the same question, "How many lines of code have you and your project team written?" The project manager, recognising the concern of her manager, said, "Well, none, but we are getting organised. We have defined our deliverables for the project, and we have made a work breakdown structure for the project, and we have started our risk analysis, but no, we have no lines of code written." Somewhat shaken, the manager left. This went on for some time. The project manager did planning and organising for the project execution to take place, and her manager grew more and more frantic with each passing day. To make a long (twelve month) story shorter, after about eleven months, the project was completed. The customer and all the stakeholders were happy. The project was fully tested and it met or exceeded the requirements as specified. The customer accepted the system and paid the bill. The project manager's boss decided to throw a party for the entire project team. So, one Friday afternoon, the office was closed and everyone took a break for pizza and beer. The project manager's boss took her aside during the party and said, "I want to congratulate you on getting this project done within the time required, but it seems to me that if you had not been messing around doing that planning stuff and gotten busy writing code from the start, we would have been done about two months sooner."

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