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23 June 2007

The Ipod by Microsoft; a metaphor for project management

Many people have seen this parody of packaging. This clip was produced for Microsoft so they could work with their staff on addressing their marketing processes. I’ve seen and worked in similar processes myself, and so have many of us. That’s why it’s funny.

Watch it again and have a think about how the challenges of project management or requirements management are similar.

I often find myself investing most of my efforts into managing what I consider a technically simple solution through complex organisations. They are complex because you have to find your way through multiple stakeholders agendas, opinions, and views developed over maybe a handful of 10 minute conversations. You know what needs to be done, but you need to convince others along the way.

Often large corporations also have a very stifling, risk averse culture where any one of a dozen people can place constraints or veto ideas and so leadership in thought, design and so on becomes very hard. It's easier for people to say no than yes.

To me this clip highlights that the challenges are almost universal for large companies. It’s up to project professionals to lead the way and argue for good design and to defend them in the face of a conservative and compliance culture.