18 January 2009

Innovation and delivery

I've been reading a book of car reviews by Jeremy Clarkson of the BBC's Top Gear. In his review of the Mercedes Benz CL65AMG he kicks the article off with a run down of some of the technological advances that occurred during WW2. And then reminds us that The War ran for only 6 years - the duration of a typical 'challenged enterprise transformation" effort.

What is it that makes change so hard in our world? Why do stakeholders introduce so many complications? Why do products get built with so many extraneous features? What, as an industry, are we doing wrong?

Anyway, Clarkson quite liked the car.


  1. Craig,

    great question and one I've asked many times in planning meetings. How come it only took 6 years to fight WWII? Or for Americans, "It only took 4 years to go from no army to defeating the Germans, and you're saying this is going to take how long?"

    Now, depending upon whom I talking to, the answer varies. "They didn't have computers." or "They didn't have project management." or "They didn't have you working for them." (I only used that last one once and my services were discontinued at that company very soon thereafter...)

    Mostly I think it was that there was a very compelling goal. If the goal is compelling enough a lot of the project management, alignment and the problems of competing interests will take care of themselves.

    Remember that the population of the United States was over 50% German at the time of WWII. Where I grew up in Wisconsin, German was still an officially recognized language. A little known fact is that as late as 1967 Mariner Bank always had a German speaker on duty in case a customer came in who only spoke German.

    If the goal isn't clear and compelling enough, no amount of project management or technology will get the project done. If the goal is clear and compelling enough, PM and technology don't matter that much.

    I love that your writing makes me think. Think about alcohol at 7 AM...

    Auf Wiedersehen

  2. Well Andrew, your 7am is my 11pm, so I see no problem with that :)