NEVER Get Out of the Boat
I am reminded today of a saying my friend Maynard originated regarding project management:
“Projects should be more like Star Wars and less like Apocalypse Now.”
Several of us agree that its the smartest thing ever said about management.
Star Wars projects are awesome. Everyone is excited, there is a directed goal, you get to do cool shit like cut people up with light sabers and blow up death stars, and at the end everyone is a hero.
Apocalypse Now projects are plodding hellholes of anguish. It starts out poorly managed with poorly defined goals and poorly applied resources. Then someone steals a surfboard, and then next thing you know you’re on a boat in Indochina. Everyone on the team ends up getting killed (fired, quit, shuffled off) in some way or another. MAYBE, just MAYBE, you end up hanging out with a Playboy bunny for an hour (e.g., a hot chick gets hired in QA and then later fired). Meetings will be uncomfortable political bloodbaths, and in the end you’re going to pair up with a crazy photographer and be subjected to horrors you can’t imagine by insane men with no hair.
I have, unfortunately, been a star in both movies (and more often than not, I’m trapped in the cage listening to Col. Kurtz spout nonsense).
Food for thought.