office space

Don't be a Lumbergh

I'm plugging away on my presentation "Breaking the Law of Bureaucracy" for the upcoming Great Lakes Software Excellence Conference. Though I know I should be focusing on how to break this law, I can't help but think of the organizational bureaucracies we all deal with.  Two types of people within our organizations come to mind, the Zombies and the Bill Lumberghs (from Office Space).  Yeahhhh, you know that guy or gal.  They're heavy on style and light on substance.  They are more concerned about you having a coversheet on your TPS (Total Project Status) report than they are of refining the process so you no longer need a TPS Report or a coversheet.  He or she sits in a corner office telling you how much time you have to complete the work they have estimated and committed for you.

Yeah, I'm going to need you to come in on, ohh, Saturday. We need to play catch up. Oh, and you might as well come in on Sunday too. Thannnkkss..

Bill Lumburgh and the Bobs Now that you know the type of person to look for, think of a way to lower the amount of bureaucracy you're dealing with every day.  I'm not suggesting you change the world.  Just look for one small change that is a pain-point or bottleneck for you, your team, or the organization.  In the case of being asked to come in on Saturday or Sunday, you're going to have to take control of who does the estimating.  If the people who are doing the work are the ones doing the estimates, there's a lower probability the estimates are going to be off and the team being over-committed.  Empower your team...and for the sake of us all, don't be a Lumbergh.

Free Total Project Status Report Template

TPS Report
TPS Report

As I study the collection and reporting of metrics and project statuses, I find many reports just do not deliver what they should. I believe there should be a stand-alone deliverable that a project manager is able to provide to a stakeholder at any time, illustrating the total project status.  I created a report and used the name "TPS Report" from the movie Office Space.  I try to interject a little humor into a project, where I can, without raising too many eyebrows.  Because I do not think I should keep all of the good stuff for myself, I hope others will download my free template.  It captures everything from overall project status to schedule, budget, scope, and quality, including a RAG (Red, Amber or Green) status.  What milestones were planned and accomplished?  What is planned for the next period?  Though I believe a subjective narrative does have its place in project reporting, I like the more objective approach.  Give your stakeholders the facts!Please enjoy this free copy of  my Total Project Status Report Template.