Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 Review

It's always good to look back and review how things went as part of an experiential learning process, so this is my review of 2016 and no don't worry, I'm not going to mention Brexit or Trump!

January began as usual with me opening Topsham outdoor swimming pool on New Year's Day (I'll be doing it again on Sunday morning). The rest of January was taken up with worrying about storm Gertrude and flooded rugby pitches.

February things started to pick up and we were able to play a few games. Not a lot else seemed to be happening!

March saw the publication of a white paper on why projects really fail, while on the rugby front Exeter Chiefs needed to bounce back from a bad loss to Leicester, and Topsham needed to keep up the pressure for a play-off spot.

April spent two weeks in Jamaica, saw a good bit of the island and met some great people. While back at home Topsham RFC secured promotion from Devon 1 to the Cornwall and Devon league, brilliant!

May saw the start of the cricket season (yawn) so I turned my concentration onto what we can do to make sure projects go right (rather than looking at why they go wrong).

June looked at the steps we need to take to implement successful project management.

July discussed the soft skills of project management.

August looked at building a good team and pre-season training started at long last.

September saw the need to stay calm and how we should measure success in project management, while the new season kicked off well.

October saw things building up to Bonfire Night, our biggest fund raising event at the club and another great team effort.

November the fifth was a great success and hopefully we captured all the lessons learned for next year! I also started walking rugby taster sessions at the clubhouse.

December and thoughts turn towards the Christmas and New Year (two weekends with no rugby at Topsham), but fortunately Exeter Chiefs kept us entertained, making it into the top four after a poor start to the season.

So that was my 2016 in a nutshell.

Here's wishing you all a very happy and successful New Year.

Friday, December 23, 2016

So here it is again

All is quiet at the rugby club this weekend, no rugby, because it's Christmas! I was going to do a post on something quite profound but I decided against it so here's a quick run down on where things are:

The extension to the viewing area and wooden safety fence are completed and are looking good. 

On the walking rugby front we have a group of eight people so far who are keen to give it a go, so we are going to continue the indoor taster/training sessions on Fridays in the new year. We should also be getting some publicity on it in the New Year so hopefully it will begin to take off. We need to get a few more people so we can start playing 5 a side outside on the mini rugby pitch.

So looking forward to the New Year with our first walking rugby session on Friday 6th January and our first home game on Saturday 7th January: our Men's 1st XV against Withycombe. 

So Happy Holiday to all over the pond and a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to those on this side of the pond and down under.


Friday, December 02, 2016

Traditional Wisdom

Projects teams tend to start out with boundless enthusiasm. They are going to change the world (or at least a small part of it) for the better. It’s usually as we get to the middle stages of a project that the problems start to emerge. The project manager’s role is to facilitate and clarify conflicts. But this is not something we get taught, it relies on common sense (which is difficult to teach) and traditional wisdom (which has to be gained).  

The Way
When the going gets tough a poor project manager will often rely on theoretical models and processes, but these are only tools and templates. The wise project manager responds to what is happening in the here and now. He is happy to serve others. The wise project manager does not make a fuss; he is quiet and reflective. The wise project manager prefers what is common and natural for this is traditional wisdom.

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us: 

Give up learning, and put an end to your anxiety. 
There is little difference between one and another.  
Is there a difference between good and bad?  
Must I fear what others fear?  

The people are excited,  
As if enjoying a sacrificial feast.  
As if climbing up to the terrace in spring.  
But I alone am quiet and uninvolved.  

I am like a new born babe.  
I alone am bereft as if homeless.  
Everyone has more than they need,  
But I alone seem left out.  

I have the heart of a fool,  
Very confused!  
Other people are bright,  
I alone am confused.  

Everyone else has a purpose,  
But I am ignorant as a rustic.  
I alone am different,  
And am nourished by the great mother.