project

Critical chain (book 2 of 12)

Critical chain (book 2 of 12)

February 16, 2020
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My guess is this book has been standing unread in my bookshelf for the better part of 12-13 years or so. Possibly even longer, who knows. (Imagine if books could tell their stories? I mean, the individual book: Oh yeah, I remember the day she picked me up at the bookstore and brought me home, I was so thrilled, but honestly, I’ve been feeling extremely neglected for the better part of 1,5 decade…) The book in question is Critical chain by Eliyahu M. Goldratt.

Being involved in a project building a manufacturing site for pharma, the book called out to me when it was time to pick my 12 + 12 books. Had I not had this current project top of mind, it would likely have stayed on the bookshelf for another decade or so.

Reading it, I’ve underlined several passages directly relating to my project managing quandaries du jour, but none of that is especially interesting outside the scope of project management. However, there’s this one passage that directly relates to another one of my current ventures, the most-likely-or-at-least-hopefully-soon-to-be-released-podcast-adventure I am on with Caspian and Dominic.

“Presenting a problem as a conflict between two necessary conditions makes a lot of sense. But I was almost programmed to proceed to find a compromise. In academia we don’t call it compromise, we call it optimize. Three-quarters of my articles are optimization models of some kind. You can imagine how difficult it was for me to accept that a much better solution, or even solutions, emerge by refusing to attempt to find a compromise, and instead concentrating on exposing the underlying assumptions.”

The I of the quote is Johnny Fisher, a professor at a university, in this fictionalized business/project management-skills book. If you’ve read The monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma, you know the type of book this is. If you haven’t, well, basically it’s a novel teaching a specific project management skill.

Concentrating on exposing the underlying assumptions.

That sentence jumps out at me, almost punching me in the nose with its insistent underlying message. For many years, and many times, I’ve said that assumptions are the mother of all fuck-ups, and so far I’ve yet to be proven wrong. And at the same time, assumptions can be so sly, so cunning, undercover bordering on stealth-like, elusive as a unicorn, because what they point to is my personal truths. And those just are. I don’t question them. I am rarely aware of them, they just are. So how, then, to expose them? Perhaps in different words, but still, that’s one thing we are looking at in the podcast-adventure.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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4 years and 10 months

December 12, 2017
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Four years and ten months since I got an email from a former colleague at a new company, asking if I had time for, and was interested in working i, a specific project he had in mind.

I said yes. So for fBoldomaticPost_it-s-time-to-let-goour years and ten months I’ve been working for this project that is nearing it’s end, although not quite – but my work is done.

That’s the best part of being a consultant for me – knowing in my heart when it’s time to let go, when I’ve done what I can, when there is no longer any need for me and my services, because others have taken on the various tasks that I’ve had on my plate.

Projects tend to be learning experiences, especially the type of projects I’ve had the privilege of participating in during my years in the pharmaceutical (as well as food-packaging) industry – mainly focussed on equipment, facilities and media. (And if you go Huh, what’s she talking about? just drop me a message and I’d gladly have a conversation about my professional background!) So I’ve had four years and ten months of having a lot of fun, met some great people, got to visit Hamburg (and other parts of Germany for that matter) a number of times, have had my fair share of frustration, and all in all – to my eternal gratitude – have learnt so much!

This project has been a part-time assignment for all but a few weeks here and there, so it’s never been “all that I do” (another thing I am very grateful for – I love the diversity of what I do!). I have lots of other projects and assignments on my plate, both new and old one’s, but this project has still been a part of my work life for a long time, so letting go isn’t done without experiencing a twang of regret for what will no longer be.

On the other hand, that twang is accompanied by the bubbling anticipatory experience of letting come:
What want’s to happen now?

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