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Halftime Adjustments For The Second Half of Life

What do you do when your opponent’s win probability is 96.5%? Super Bowl XLIX (that’s 49 in case your roman number math is rusty) was played on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. It pitted the New England Patriots against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. (Who happen to also be the team I’ve supported since I was a kid growing up in Olympia, WA.)

At the start of the 4th quarter, the Seahawks held a 24-14 lead. No team in the 49 year history of the game had ever overcome a double digit lead in the second half. The odds that the Seahawks were going to win was 96.5%.

  
(Pro-football-reference.com)

If you are a sports fan, you know how it ended. With a brilliant Patriots comeback and the worst play calling in the history of the Super Bowl by the Seattle coach. 

Second half comebacks are the stuff of legend. It’s the stuff of movies and aging athletes’ stories. 

What’s it have to do with you, me and business? 

I turned 50 last year. If you consider that I started my career at WordPerfect in 1989 (Back Where It All Began), at age 24 and I will probably work until I’m in my 70’s, 50 is the middle. (Don’t get tripped up on the math. I realize I’m past halfway, but just go with it.) 

I’m not saying that my first half was terrible. In fact, I’m pretty pleased with how the first half has gone. There have been some disappointments, certainly. My il-fated sidetrip to the mid-west comes to mind. But, there have also been some really, really good days. I got to work for Microsoft during a time of incredible growth in the computer industry. I got to travel. I got to write books and teach classes. 

But, I’m now looking at the second half and trying to decide “Where do we go from here?”

It’s a question that any of us can ask, and not just when you turn 50. College graduation is a halftime moment. You are leaving school and starting a career, typically. My friend Howard reached a halftime moment while at Novell and turned the second half into a cartooning career. 

In fact, every moment can be halftime. All we need to do is decide that we are going to make a change. 

As I look forward to the second half of my career, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it should look like. What do I want to be when I grow up? What activities give me joy and excitement and which ones do I dread? What have I shown that I can be good at? 

Some of the things that are ahead for me, or at least that I want to make part of the second half are:

  • More education: School was always a means to an end for me. But, I love learning. I want to spend more time just learning new stuff because it’s interesting.
  • More writing: I appreciate all of you who follow this blog. I’ll keep writing it, but I also want to write novels, screenplays, songs and comedy.
  • More reading: Reading can take you anywhere in this world or beyond. I love to read and need to make more time for it.
  • More work: Sounds weird, I know. But, I still have things I want to accomplish in my career. I want to teach, I want to be in a position to share waht I know, or think I know about business. I also want to be influential in my company and industry. I really like the idea of a Chief Data Officer. 
  • More play: My kids are growing up, but the ones at home are still young enough to enjoy camping, basketball, bike rides and just hanging out with dad. And as they get older, my grandkids will be around.  

Remember that setting yoru game plan, doesn’t mean it’s set in stone. It simply means you’ve started on a journey in a particular direction. Regardless of your point in life, tomorrow is always the start of second half. Whether you are going into the second half tied, up big, or down by 10, you have the ability to make adjustments. Be your own coach and make your second half even better than the first. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss) 
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss) 
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

How I Wrecked By Making A Hard Left Turn At 40

It seemed like a good idea at the time. 

My career had been exclusively in the IT world for a couple of decades. I cut my teeth at WordPerfect learning how to value customers. I moved on to Microsoft and made a ton a money. I’d traveled the world, written books and enjoyed years of success as an IT professional. But, my last couple of jobs had a disappointing ending, and I felt I was ready for something new. 
I had a chance to move from the western half of the US where I’d spent my entire life bouncing between Utah and Washington, to the Midwest where I knew no one and had no experience. 

And it’s not like the money was that good. My new gig, partnering in a rafting business in Wisconsin paid half of what I’d made in IT. Well, it was supposed to pay half, but I’ll get to that. Like many people, especially men, who hit their 40’s, I was having a bit of an identity crisis. Not that I was unsure who I was, but I was unsure what I wanted to be when I grew up. The rafting job seemed to have many positives. My kids would get to grow up in a rural environment. We were in the Great North Woods. Our house was on 7 acres and we were just a couple miles from the river where the rafting would happen. I would have the opportunity to give up a cubicle and get outside. I’d still get to work with people. In fact, I’d be working with more people than any of my previous jobs. 

It was perfect.

Of course, it wasn’t perfect. 

The salary was low to start with and then my “partner” announced that it was 1/3 lower than we’d agreed on. The house he’d pressured me to buy had no furnace. We got the sellers to put in a new furnace, but we needed to put in an oil tank and fill it. That would cost thousands of dollars that we didn’t have, and with the low salary wouldn’t have. The Great North Woods are filled with ticks in the Spring and Early Summer and frigid cold snow through the winter. But, worst of all, my “partner” wasn’t really a partner at all. It turned out he was a liar and a crook. And the job collapsed after just 23 days. 

My left turn at 40 had crashed my career, my finances and my mental health. 

It took me years to recover. And like many people who go through traumatic experiences, I don’t know that I’ll ever fully recover. I’m more cautious. I’m less tolerant of risk. On the positive side, I’m stronger. I understand exactly what’s important. I got out of debt during the recovery, and financially, I’m stronger than before my foray into Northern Wisconsin. 

Compare my experience to a friend of mine that also made a left turn out of IT. 

  
((C) Howard Tayler and Hypernode Press)

I’ve written about Howard Tayler, and his award winning web comic, Schlock Mercenary, before. Howard was manager at Novell, a large computer company. In fact, Howard and I met when we were both working at WordPerfect corporation. Howard was, by all accounts a successful manager. He was in charge of development of Novell GroupWise, an email program with an extremely loyal user base. He had a secure position in a company known for layoffs. But, at one point he took that left turn out of IT and never looked back. 

Howard approached his career change differently than I had. He launched Schlock Mercenary in June of 2000. But, at the time he started drawing his web comic as a hobby, he already had visions of turning it into a career. 

It was actually before I launched. I had decided in April or May of 2000 that I wanted to head in this direction.”

I wandered away from the computer industry, Howard sprinted away in 2004. 

I definitely left the tech industry. Middle-management work was killing me by degrees, and while I honestly loved the things that my team and I were making, I couldn’t keep pouring myself into that job. . .cartooning was definitely something I embraced. That move in 2004 was a leap from something I was starting to earnestly hate to something I desperately loved. 

Howard also laid the groundwork for his success. He spent four years getting himself, his family and his finances in a position to make the leap. There are still no guarantees. Every new adventure had the risk of failure built into it. My worst fears were realized when I found myself unemployed, in debt and stuck in a house in a part of the country where I couldn’t put my marketable skills to work. And it’s so fears that often keep us from making a change. We might hate our jobs, as Howard did, but still be scared to immobility by the fear that losing our income will ruin us. Howard also had this fear. His biggest fear in 2004 about making the left turn was 

Poverty, hunger, and crawling back into the tech industry begging for a job. 

And here’s the irony in our two situations, what Howard feared, I longed for. I love working in the tech industry. My most enjoyable jobs have been in middle-management. I truly enjoy the industry and the ability to work with a team to create software solutions. 

Should you make a change? Have you thought about it? Have you thought, “I really hate what I’m doing, and I’d love to be able to do this other thing,”? It would be a lot easier to make the move if we knew the outcome before we started. But, I guess that’s part of the process too. Like playing a rugby match, if you knew the winner before you started, you’d still play. It’s not about which team comes out ahead in the end. It’s about the process of getting from here to there and the how many times you are going to get knocked down and get back up again. 

I asked Howard what the best and worst parts of working for himself are. 

Best? I can plan things so that I only do what I love. I only tackle projects that interest me.

Worst? My plans don’t always work out. Sometimes I have to do crappy stuff I don’t like, and in this organization there really isn’t anybody for me to delegate those things to.

I don’t know if I’ll have the courage to make another left turn at 50 or 55 or 60. But, if I do, I know a couple of things. 

  • The worst thing may be having to return to IT, and that’s not terrible for me
  • I need to take advice from Howard and start planning my turn well before I get to it
  • I can survive
  • There are people who’ve done it and done it well. I can too

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss) 
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss) 
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

My Kids Think Graduation Is The End. . .I Don’t Have The Heart To Tell Them The Truth

I was set. I’d found, if not my dream job, at least the last job I thought I’d ever have. I went to work for a large non-profit in Utah. It was a good job, a great company, wonderful coworkers. And they had a pension. 1.5% per year worked. So, if I put in 20 years, I’d retire with 30% of my generous salary. 

Yep, I was set. 

And then they announced layoffs. 

If you are in the IT industry you will switch jobs, possibly a lot. It’s one of the truths that everyone knows. It’s why we in the tech sector have so many certifications. Well, indirectly. The technology changes so quickly that we needed a way to show a prospective employer that you have a basic understanding of your area of expertise. 

Plus, engineers don’t get out much. It’s fun to go to training for a week in an exciting location like Vegas or Detroit. (Maybe one more than the other.) 

So, the layoffs hit and I should have been fine, right? I was an IT professional with published works, a history of success at multiple companies, and I was in a tech rich part of the country. 

I spent 13 months looking for work. 

So, what happened? 

I let my certificates slip. I was at that non-profit for about five years. Long enough for world of technology to turn over at least twice. I was on the wrong side of 40 and the only certifications I had were at least 5 and more like 10 years old. At first, I was in denial. Sure, the search was taking longer than I thought it should, but it would turn out okay. And then the weeks turned into months. 

Eventually, I had to face the fact that the “me” that I was presenting online wasn’t good enough. I needed to upgrade my image. I was a project manager, so the Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification was a natural one to pursue. 

I got my PMP in January, I got a job offer as a project manager in March. 

I’m not making the same mistake twice. In the past year I’ve completed 

  • CompTIA A+ – A computer hardware certification
  • CompTia Network+ – A computer networking certification, not surprisingly
  • ToastMasters Competant Communicator Silver – An award for giving speeches

  
I’m currently working on CompTia Security+, an information security certification, and Toastmaster’s Competent Communicator Gold.. I also have on my list to be a certified trainer for Influencer, a business course on gaining and using influence. I also intend to get Certified Scrum Master, a certification for Agile program development, and Six Sigma Black Belt, a process improvement certification. 

And it will continue. Ironically, when I took the PMP course, I didn’t really learn that much. I learned some vocabulary, but I already understood how to be a project manager. But, none of that knowledge is important if I can’t get into an interview to demonstrate it. 

I see the same thing happening with smart people in my life. My mother went back to school twice as an adult. Once to become a CPA and later to become a Licensed Financial Planner. Bill Gates was famous for taking a month off to go learn some new thing about biology, or third world diseases, or something. 

The school year is coming to an end. My kids are excited to be “done.” They don’t really understand that you are never done. 

I like my  job. I really do. But, it’s a computer job, meaning that the job or I am going to change at some point. Learning is a lifelong pursuit. 

What are you working on? 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
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LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

Not Quite Got It All Figured Out

I missed my shot. 

No doubt about it, I’ve definitely missed my chance. 

First, the professional athletes, and now the presidency. 

Here are some of the people running or likely to run for president.

  • Bernie Sanders – 73 years
  • Hillary Clinton – 67 years
  • Rick Perry – 65 years
  • Ben Carson – 63 years
  • Jeb Bush – 62 years
  • Carly Fiona – 60 years
  • Lindsey Graham – 59 years
  • Mike Huckabee – 59 years
  • Rand Paul – 52 years
  • Martin O’Malley – 52 years
  • Scott Walker – 47 years
  • Ted Cruz – 44 years
  • Marco Rubio – 43 years

I had to finally admit that I’ve missed my chance to be president. I’m not as old as the top half of the list, but I’m not as young as the bottom half of the list. I had a similar feeling when “the old guys” in baseball were younger than me. In 2012, Jamie Moyer retired at the age of 49. He was the oldest pitcher in baseball history to win a game. 

  
(Jamie Moyer in 2001, Photo credit: Matt Campbell/AFP/Getty Images)

Jamie is 2 years older than I am. 

This year the oldest player is LaTroy Hawkins, a pitcher for Colorado. He was in elementary school when I graduated from high school. 

  
So, I’ve missed my shot at pro sports and my shot at the presidency is rapidly slipping away. 

I always thought I’d be so much further along at this point. 

Has my career been a success? How do you judge? 

With pro sports figures it’s easy. An army of statisticians will keep track of every pitch, homerun, touchdown, basket, and goal. The same stats geeks will put together a “Best 50 players” list and rank the athletes. But, what about regular guys who get up and go to work everyday in a cubicle? How does THAT guy judge success? 

I’ve been at my current company for about a year and a half. I’m still new. It’s not unusual for IT employees to move around a lot. The days of IBM hiring people for life is long gone. I once got laid off my church’s IT department. There is no job security, but there is also no assumed loyalty. 

But, jumping around also means that at times you don’t have a chance to build up seniority. 

There are ways to keep score, of course. Who makes the most money? Who has the biggest office, the most prestigious title, the biggest house? But, those don’t really measure the value you added to a company. They don’t really measure your ability to solve problems and contribute to a team’s success. I’ve seen the most imcompetent employee get ahead by schmoozing the boss, and I’ve seen the most deserving candidate struggle to get a promotion because they don’t play politics well.

I’m not really disappointed in my career. That’s not my point at all. I’ve done some amazing things. I’ve travelled to some amazing locations and worked with some great coworkers and clients. But, still, at times I wonder, is this all there is? Did I live up to my potential? Could I have done more? Would it have been better? Could I have been president? Would I even have wanted to? 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss) 
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss) 
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 


What Bruno Mars and Imagine Dragons Taught Me About My Job

I like music. 

I’d say I LOVE music. As I type these words, I have music playing in the background. If you have ADD, music actually helps you concentrate. At least the right type of music does. 

But, even separate from the need to concentrate, I just really enjoy music. My iTunes library has about 7500 songs. 

Imagine my surprise then, in learning that I’m pretty much stuck in 1998 musically. 

Spotify did a survey showing that people stop discovering new music after age 33. If I look at the top 100 songs of 1998 (that’s the last time I was 33) I recognize, and enjoy a lot of these artists. 

1 Next Too Close
2 Brandy and Monica The Boy Is Mine
3 Shania Twain You’re Still The One
4 Savage Garden Truly Madly Deeply
5 LeAnn Rimes How Do I Live
6 Janet Together Again
7 K-Ci and JoJo All My Life
8 Elton John Candle In The Wind 1997 / Something About The Way You Look Tonight
9 Usher Nice and Slow
10 Paula Cole I Don’t Want To Wait
11 Third Eye Blind How’s It Going To Be
12 Destiny’s Child No, No, No
13 Celine Dion My Heart Will Go On
14 Will Smith Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It

Those were some great songs. I’m more of a country fan, but I liked Celine’s Titanic theme. I liked Will Smith’s stuff. Elton John’s Candle in the Wind is a classic. 

Next, I looked at last year’s list

1 Pharrell Williams – Happy
2 Katy Perry feat. Juicy J Dark Horse
3 John Legend All Of Me
4 Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX Fancy
5 OneRepublic Counting Stars
6 Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz Talk Dirty
7 MAGIC! Rude
8 Meghan Trainor All About That Bass
9 Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea Problem
10 Sam Smith Stay With Me
11 Pitbull feat. Ke$ha Timber
12 Bastille Pompeii
13 Taylor Swift Shake It Off
14 Nico and Vinz Am I Wrong

Who are these people? Well, I recognize Taylor Swift And that Pharrell  Williams guy is on The Voice, but I’ve never heard him sing.  

It made me think. What else did I learn in 1998 and never bothered to update?  

Information Technology is a strange profession. You can be at the top of your game, the very best in the world at what you do, and 18 monhts later, if you don’t constantly update your skills, you’ll be unemployable.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve studied for and pass the Project Manager Professional (PMP) exam. I’ve earned CompTia’s A+ certification and the Network+ certification. I’m working on Security+ right now.

The previous 5 years, I didn’t do anything to keep my certification updated. I didn’t worry too much about falling behind. And then I lost my job. I was the old guy with outdated skills.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that I can write DOS batch files, carries a certain level of prestige, kind of like a ship captain who can still use a sextant. You don’t need it for anything, but yeah, it’s a fun trick to show off at parties.

But, if that ship’s captain can’t pilot a modern ship, no one’s going to hire him.

So, while I love Simon And Garrfunkle, Johnny Cash and modern “throwbacks” like Toby Keith, maybe I should expand more than my technical expertise.

  
I went out and bought two new  CD’s last week.

  
Yeah, I said CD’s. That’s just how I roll.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 


Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com


(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

The Privilege of Doing Hard Things

They were crying. I’ll admit it, if I didn’t have to the be the grown up, I might have felt like crying myself. We had arrived at our campsite at Indian Springs after several hours of hiking narrow mountain trails in the rain. It was cold. I’d shared my gloves with my 12 year-old son that was hiking with me. His twin brother hadn’t brought gloves either, and his hands were like ice. 

I quickly set the tent up as the last of the light faded. 

Get your gear into the tent and start setting up your sleeping bags. 

I got mostly mumbles and wimpers.

And get out of those wet clothes. Put on dry socks and make sure any of your wet gear is set to the side.

I next got started on dinner. Basically, it involved boiling water and then pouring it into zip lock bags full of dried lasagna and pasta alfredo. I checked back in with my boys.

Are you guys getting your stuff set up?

He hasn’t even started.

What’s the hold up?

I can’t. My fingers won’t move enough to unbuckle my pack. 

I felt like a bad parent, like I was the one responsible for their pain and suffering. Earlier, on the trail, my son had needed tons of encouragement just to keep going. (My 12 Year Old Was Braver Than me.)  He didn’t want to be there. He wanted to be home.

It’s shorter to go forward than to go back at this point. 

And he would set his shoulders and trudge for another couple hundred yards. I don’t do a lot of regular exercise. I try to take the stairs at work and my diet is pretty good, but frankly, the hike was tough on me as well. My pack was approximately 35 lbs. I was also carrying a half gallon of water (4 lbs) and my rain gear and hiking clothes. 

At one point, it was clear that my son was at the end of his endurance. He dropped his 30lbs pack and seemed on the verge of giving up.

Tell you what. I’ll carry your pack for a while. Do you think that will help?

All he could manage was a tired nod. And then he turned and headed up the trail. There’s a way to carry a second backpack. You wear it on the front and wrap your arms around it. 

Unfortunately, that just meant I couldn’t see. So, I slung it over one shoulder. The first step was brutal. I felt like my feet had been encased in concrete. The hike was challenging before, now it was staggering. Fortunately, my son was already headed up the trail and didn’t see just how difficult it was for me to take his load in addition to mine. 

I staggered up the trail, one hand clutching his pack, the other using my staff to literally lever my way up the trail. 

  
I have no idea how long I could have carried it. Fortunately, my son found his strength. 

I think I can take it now, Dad.

Are you sure?

Yeah, I feel better.

And he carried it the rest of the way. 

Do you have the privlege of doing hard things at work? That probably sounds crazy. It’s a chore to do the hard things. When we are building our call centers, there comes a time when we have to work nearly non-stop to get the computers on the desks and configured. Our desktop engineers do the builk of it, but I have spent several nights helping uncrate PCs and put them desks. We typically work 18-24 hour days during that time. 

Is it a prilege to do that work? Should I feel that I *get* to do it as opposed to *have* to do it? 

Yes. 

Doing hard things gives you two benefits that you cannot get any other way. 

First, it binds you to your team. We have 18 boys in our troop. Only five of them went on the hike last weekend. Those five did a hard thing. And when they start talking to their friends as 12-year olds do, the five who did the hard thing will have something special binding them together. They will have shared not just a hike, but an experience. 

The same thing applies to your teams. Ask them to do the hard thing and it wil strengthen them as a team.

Second, it teaches you that you can do it. People decry our culture of awarding participation trophies and parents who “helicoptor” in to spare their child any inconvenience or difficullty. But, when a boy, or girl, woman or man does a hard thing and finishes it, they come to realize that they are made of sterner stuff.

It was clear that nothing was going to happen in the tent with my sons gear getting unpacked until I solved his being cold. The water wasn’t quite to a boil, but it was close. I poured it into the zip lock bag holding his dinner and stirred it up. Just holding the bag warmed up my freezing hands. 

Here, eat this. You’ll feel better.  

Antoher package for the other son and then a package for me and I joined them in the tent. Already the magic of warm food was starting to take effect. We each kept one hand on our dinner, using the other to unpack our sleeping pads, bags and dry clothes. 

Thanks, Dad.

Better?

Yeah, I think I can get my stuff out now.

My boys are now glad that they went. And as their dad, I’m proud of them. I admit that during the worst of it, if I could have releaved them of the hardship, I would have. I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad that they will have the opportunity to look back and say, “I did that. It was hard and I did it.” 

It’s a privilege not everyone gets. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

The Weather Was Terrible. . .And Then It Started To Snow

  
I grew up in the Seattle area. Actually, I grew up in Olympia. Despite being the state capital and only about 40 miles south of Seattle, few people outside of Washington know where it is. Okay, truly, I grew up in Lacey. It’s a suburb of Olympia and even fewer people know where it is than can find Olympia. The point is that I grew up in the Puget Sound area of Western Washington. 

Wanna know a secret? It doesn’t rain as much in Seattle as people think. But, it still, it rains a lot. I grew up a hiking and camping in the Cascade Mountains. Even when it wasn’t raining, it was wet. Fog, clouds, rain, mist. 

Exactly the kind of weather I found myself in now. Except that now, I wasn’t in the rain forests of Western Washington. No. I was in the high desert of Utah’s Rocky Mountains. The forecast was for rain all weekend and the weather wasn’t disappointing. My old leather jacket quickly soaked all the through to the sweatshirt underneath. Our backpacks were wrapped in thick black plastic garbage bags, water dripping off everything in sight. 

And then, after a few minutes, the rain turned to snow.

I’ve worked on a lot of projects in my career. Most of them started with a project plan. A project plan is like a battle plan. It’s a roadmap of how the project should unfold. Or, at least how the project manager thinks the project should unfold. 

“The battle plan is the first casualty of contact with the enemy.”
                                          – Helmuth von Moltke, 19th-century head of the Prussian army

Like battle plans, once your project kicks off, the project plan is often the first to go off track. Like my hike in the rain, things can get bogged down. And then it might start to snow. 

A project plan depends on many different teams, all of which have their own schedules, their own plans. Typically my projects involve:

  • Telecom
  • Networks
  • Desktops
  • Circuits
  • Operations
  • Facilities
  • Security
  • Client Services

Generally my projects run 12-16 weeks. Three or four months might sound like a long time, but during that 100-120 day there might only be a few days of time to spare. Sometimes a delay of even a day can knock the entire project off it’s schedule. A day or two at the beginning is doable, by the end of the project, deadlines countdowns are measured in weekds, then days and finally are counted in hours. 

Anything that throws you off track is a potential schedule buster.

But, is the snow better or worse? 

The snow was coating the grass and each of the boys. However, it tended to collect on the outside of our clothes, too cold to melt. It landed lightly on the trail, but didn’t turn to mud. It didn’t pool. It didn’t create a muddly slipperly mess. 

Instead of making the situation worse, the snow helped. 

Project interruptions can be like that. Not everything that moves the project plan off track is a negative. Sometimes you just need a little snow. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved
 

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