Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Story of travellers

It was a bright sunny day. Ram and his friends want to explore one of the remote villages of India , which was famous for its natural beauty.
Ram is project manager in a leading software company and lives a buoyant life in the silicon city of Bangalore. He is very adventurous and creative. He is keen on photography as well.
Ananth is Ram's boss. A noted project manager in IT sector who has helped several organisations to achieve their objectives through his mature vision and expertise in Project Management. Ananth was always a good mentor for Ram. When Ram asked him for a leave while explaining his trekking plan, Ananth granted it without hesitation. In fact Ananth always take care of his subordinates very well and strongly advocates employees engaging in such "stress buster" activities.

Ram and his friends raju,manoj and krish started their trip from Banaglore on the bright sunny saturday morning. They could not make much planning since It was finalised during the friday lunch hour in the office. Infact Raju commented that "What is there to plan , we are not going for SAP implementation or something, its just a pleasure trip. Take it easy!" , when Manoj asked about the trip plan. Everyone in the team was convinced by Raju's reply.

Ram was driving his SUV very well , and was taking all the fun of the week end outing. Soon they reached a suburb of Bangalore which was considered to be the 'end of the city'. There were some shops which sell basic commodities and couple of localites were lingering around looking for prospective customers for the low cost lodging they arrange.

Krish jumped out of the vehicle and got some snacks and drinks for the journey. Ram was ready to resume the trip. Manoj came up with his usual style of 'raising doubts'. Scratching his head and asking Raju "Raju, how are we gonna reach there? Do you have a map? Or shall we ask some one?"
Raju was quick on reacting : "Look straight loser.. its the same road going ahead.Already we got delayed by nasty traffic in Bangalore. If we spend time here searching for map and chatting with localites , we are never gonna enjoy the trip"
"Okay , Raju will take us back home" - Manjo giggled.
The whole team burst into laughter by Raju's comment and Manoj's reaction to that.

Ram and his team resumed the trip. Road was good and they started seeing the city going away from them and more and more greenery appeared on both sides. As they progressed they could hardly see any houses or men in the vicinity. Road was straight and they kept going.

Ram has stopped the vehicle at one point where the tarred road almost blended to soil. The areas was kind of open space. They have seen the road splitting into two.
"Hey , right or left ?" Ram asked.
"Is right is right or left is right , Raju?" - Manoj couldn't stop himself pulling Raju's leg on this occasion.
"Shut up you bugger" Raju came out with 'his type of' quick response.
"Hey , cant we phone up Thomas and ask, since he was here last time" Krish broke his silence.
"Now thatz a good idea" Ram told and started dialing Thomas , who was back in Bangalore.

"Well, take the left road and as you progress you will reach a small village , where you can find some people. they can guide you further" Thomas answered.

Thanks to Thoma s's memory. They found some villagers after they have traveled some distance after taking the left turn.
Ram was more logical this time "Hey , dont waste this chance and lets not commit mistakes again. We will make a route map with the help of these guys" (1)
With in half an hour the map was ready, indicating major stops and hazardous areas. They need to come back and stay at the village since they were already late and could not finish the sight seeing in the remaining time.

The trip was much easier with the route map. They have stopped at some places and Ram took some photographs as well. Raju managed to finish a pack of cigarettes by then and was looking for another. There was a lake coming ahead and all were excited to see that.
But even after 2 hours of drive they couldn't see the the milestones which the villager told.
"How far we are way from the lake , Ram?" Manoj asked.
"Oh, holy shit! we dont have kilometers written in the map !" Ram exclaimed.
"Unless we dont know the figures , how we will know how far we progressed in reaching the lake ?" Krish came up with a question. (2)

Ram was not having an answer for that. "Okay guys , lets go with the map, we will go back if we are too much late and not finishing atleast 60% of the spots mentioned in the map" Ram was quick on deciding that and every one agreed.

"I think we added too much things in the trip , this lake plan was not there initially! and I dont think we can finish all these today" Krish was not happy.(3)

As they feared , the journey took more time than expected and midway they decided not to move further and started returning to the village where they planned to stay.

Things got worse when ram found that there is a slight wobbling in the from tires. He stopped the vehicle to examine th tires. "Dude , I think we got a problem here" Ram told.
"Oh , holy shit ! front tire got punctured it seems !" Manoj shouted.
"We have a spare tyre in the dickey , right? , cant we change it and start again?" Raju asked Ram.

"Ya, we can. Raju get me the tool box please" Ram started rolling the sleeves up.
"Here we go" Raju dropped the tool kit to Ram.
"Oh my god, we are screwed !" Ram cried.
"Hey , now what?" Manoj jumped.
"We dont have the right spanned, dude!" Ram's voice dropped.
"Oh... this was quite unexpected!" Manoj got shocked by Ram's response. (4)
"Okay , lets wait for some passerby , or we may even get a lift by some fellow trekkers" Raju lighted another cigar.

After 2 hours of waiting and worrying they were managed to get back to the village , when the forest ranger (The officer in charge of forest) found them lost on their way.

The kind officer made arrangements to get their car repaired and brought it back to where they stay.

Team members grabbed a nice sleep since they all were quite tired after an eventful day!

The next day they travelled back to Bangalore canceling further sight seeing.
On the way they were discussing about the events which resulted in the failure of the trip.

"Hey, guys . How was your trip? Enjoyed?" Ananth , Ram's boss , was quite excited to hear from them about the trip.
"Dont ask me sir, we just want to forget it" Ram replied. (5)
"What happened? You guys are quite smart ,you should have done that!" Anath couldn't believe Ram's words.

Ram explained the entire sequence of the trip and Ananth was listening very carefully.
He never interrupted Ram or taken eyes away from his, except while scribbling some notes in between.

"Okay guys , listen now. I would like to take you to the conference hall now" Ananth stood up.
Ram and others followed him to the conference hall.

With his characteristic strong and clear voice Ananth started "Lets call your pleasure trip as a Project, and I assume Ram as the project manager for that"

If you go through the events , you will find that you have committed the 5 mistakes , which most of the project managers do.
- The top 5 most common & deadly mistakes!

Ananth took the paper which he was scribbling in while listening to Ram.
"See , I have noted them here. The mistakes are:"
1)Start a project with out appropriate project plan
2) Start executing with out a progress monitoring system
3) Failure to identify scope creep
4) Fail to track resources and log their usage / No risk management
5) Failure of documenting lessons learned

He then explained these mistakes in context of the incident.
1) They could have done a better planning in the beginning and made a route map. Even if they slipped it while gettng out from their apartments , they could have accomplished that with the help of the localites they found in the suburb.This could have saved their valuable time and saved them from unnecessary confusions and worries later.

2) When they made the map , they didnt mention the kilometer. Because of this they were not able to asses how far or near the are from the target

3)They have not decided what to do in the trip , apart from "Going to village , see places , take pictures and come back". Unknowingly more places and activities got added up.

4) Tools are essential while going for trips like this. They have not kept that resource with them, which resulted in major problems. Also this was an expected risk while trekking. They should have foreseen that and kept the required tools inside the car.

5) This is not the last trip Ram and his pals going to make. So they must discuss about the flaws in the plan which resulted in a bad trip and find out ways not to repeat them again in the forthcoming trips.

Ananth looked around to find the expression of his subordinates.
They were all silent. After a pause Ananth continued.

"Principles of project management does not only apply to the projects we do at work, but it has importance and application in our daily lives. In short Project Management is not domain specific , it is a structured way of doing things to achieve success and accomplish goals"

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