December 24, 2008 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Project Management Musings
Santa Claus Steering Committee and Project Sponsor
By Barry Shore, Ph.D.
In a rare interview with Santa at the North Pole, we learned that, in spite of many problems this year, the big Christmas Eve project is still on schedule. The good news for all children is that St. Nicholas will soon be there.
Referring to his new motto, “Better, Faster Cheaper,” borrowed from an astronaut he “ran into” at the space station, Santa told us that quality may suffer a bit this year and that the scope of the project has been cut back, but that he will do his best to make sure that a smaller budget goes a longer way.
Indeed, for the first time ever, Santa was sighted camping out at Wal-Mart in anticipation of a 4 AM opening on Black Friday. Then on Cyber Monday his elves kept a bank of 200 computers busy all day.
Clearly, the financial crisis and recession have affected everyone! Even Santa.
“Not since the Great Depression had I been through such a tough time,” said Santa. “I never lost hope. Not with so many of ‘my’ children depending on me.”
About two months before the 2008 project began, during the initiation phase, it was suggested that a significant transformation needed to take place. Now, with the economy in crisis, it was necessary to initiate those changes that would ensure the survival of the annual Christmas Project for future generations.
It seems that the Program Management Office at the North Pole wanted to appoint a Steering Committee and Project Sponsor.
The steering committee, as it was presented, would keep tabs on Santa’s plans as well as his criteria for doling out presents. The Sponsor would ensure that funds would keep coming so that budgets would no longer be so vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of financial markets.
When Santa heard about this effort he told us that he fumed. “I have been doing this job for hundreds of years,” he said. “Why would anyone think that I would have trouble steering this project in the right direction. Last year I had very little to steer. Donna and Blitzen did most of the work and besides, I picked up a Garmin nuvi 660 GPS with 4.3 inch screen. It was great!”
Just as we were about to suggest that steering committees do more than steer, he interrupted.
“As if that was not enough, the issue of procurement was raised.”
“I was told that wage rates at the Pole were relatively high, and that we would save money by transfering some or all of the work to Asia.”
Now he was out of control, certainly not his usual jovial self. “I’ve got the best trained elves in the world,” he shouted. We are a 100% PMP certified shop and this year five of my elves earned 2 PDUs in Wrapping and Tying. Why would anyone want to shut us down?”
“Further, I can’t imagine how we could integrate a project that would span Siberia.”
“And we have improved every year, especially since we formalized the Post-Mortem two years ago.”
“If you remember, some families reported that a real clatter appeared out on their lawns, forcing many to spring from bed to see what was the matter.
Well, we learned.
This year I can assure you that we are much more agile in making our deliveries. The days of clatter are done. They are over!”
“Look at our delivery fleet,” Santa continued. “You can’t get any greener. Doesn’t leave any carbon footprint. I do it all with eight tiny reindeer and a miniature sleigh.”
OK, we also have a Garmin nuvi 660, but it prevents us from making wrong turns and getting lost. It keeps us on the critical path. Plus, it’s very useful if we run out of fuel for the reindeer.”
Santa calmed down and we had milk and cookies. But before we left the North Pole we had one more question for him.
”Santa, what’s your view on the economy”
He reflected for a moment and then with a wink of his eye, he said, “Keep visions of sugar plums dancing in your head for in the long run you have nothing to dread.”
Then, we heard him exclaim as we drove out of sight,” Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”
@ 2008 Barry Shore. Not to be used without written permission of the author.