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Leading Boys – Leading Men

April 21, 2016

On my honor 
I will do my best,
To do my duty to God and my country
And to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself 
Physically strong, 
Mentally awake and 
Morally straight.

Boy Scout Oath

Once a week and for a week in the summer, I get to become 12 years old again. I’m an Assistant Scoutmaster in BSA troop 832. Last night we had our parent’s meeting to discuss our summer activities. In July, we are taking the 12 and 13 year old boys in our troop on a rafting trip in Moab, UT. The trip will be four days; Tuesday through Friday. The preparation will be months. Last night was the kick off. We shared the schedule and costs. One of our leaders went on this trip two years ago. He talked a little about how much fun it was. We also started on the mountain of paperwork that goes into taking a dozen pre-teens and those just barely in their teens, on a trip involving travel and an element of danger.
I spend my days as an IT project manager. I’m constantly struck by how much project management concepts transcend disciplines. We are in the middle of a big project at work. We are opening a new call center in Shreveport, LA. We started the project in mid March. We had a kickoff meeting that was not unlike last night’s parent meeting. We got permission from our stakeholders to move forward. We got the budget approved. We laid out the tasks that needed to be complete to get us to our launch day on May 4. We also talked a little about how exciting adding a new facility would be. Shreveport is a wonderful little city in Northern Louisiana. My company already has a call center there. We will be taking over some of the space to support my client. 

Many of the elements that make up a successful rafting trip are also important to a successful product launch, or a successful call center opening. 


Our rafting trip will be four days. The preparation will stretch over months. During the coming months we will go over some of the concepts of rafting. We are calling it the “Stay in The Boat” program. We’ll have plenty of time to prepare the boys, and the adults for what will turn out to be an intense four day trip. 

A call center has many moving pieces, circuits, facilities, furniture, cameras, turnstiles, computers, phones, security, networks and more. All of these pieces have to come together perfectly on the day of the launch. If the preparation goes well enough, the actual launch is very smooth. If we miss a piece, then launch day gets hectic and tense. 


The troop will cover part of the cost of the trip, but much of it will come from the boys and their families. As leaders, we’ve had to set a budget that was not too big, but big enough to allow us to have an activity that will be fun for the boys. 

The budget for our call center opening is much, more more than a rafting trip. But, we still have to consider the functionality we can get for different budget amounts. 


Scheduling a trip for a dozen different people in the middle of the summer is not as simple as it should be. There are sports camps, family reunions, and even kids with jobs that influence the schedule. Then, there’s the vacation schedules for leaders and parents who will attend. The imporant thing to remember is that we are not going to be able to please everyone. But, we want to make our activity more appealing than the competition. 

Typically we want to get our call centers open as soon as possible, but there are still many things that influence our schedule. We have a certain number of weeks of training before agents can go on the phones. We have constraints on when suppliers can provide certain pieces of the infrastructure. Then, there’s the consideration of people’s schedules. And of course, theres’ the need to have our center staffed in time to meet the projected call volumes.

Our boys are really excited about our summer trip. Some are a little nervous, while still excited. As the adult in the discussion, I understand the amount of work that needs to happen between now and July. The boys just know “it’s months away.” 

While opening a new center is always exciting, I’m pretty sure that those four days in July are going to be more memorable. 

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. 

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(c) 2016 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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