The talks to settle the war in Vietnam were stalled for five months while the participants negotiated the shape of the table at which talks would occur. Five months!! I wonder how many mothers lost their sons during that five month period. On the list of things are beyond idiotic, this example must certainly be near the top.
I was thinking about this because of a comment I saw in an interview of renowned consultant Jim Hassett by Bloomberg. (Corporate Counsel Weekly, December 10, 2014. In the article, Jim quoted the remarks of a “senior executive”:
We were just at a board meeting last week where we were talking about whether we should do formalized project management training. My answer to that question is obviously yes, we absolutely should. But first we need to agree on
the shape of the peace talk tablewhat legal project management is.
I had a number of reactions to this statement. In no particular order of significance:
1. What in the world have you been waiting for? Good god, man, its 2014! What have you been doing for the last half decade?
2. Committees (which is what a law firm board is) is where good ideas go to die.
3. How long will it take to decide
the shape of the table what legal project management is.
4. This is a great example of letting good be the enemy of better.
5. Tom Peters’ favorite comment is “Ready, fire, aim.” Lather, rinse, repeat.
6. How many client dollars will be wasted while the firm tries to figure out something simple like this?
7. WTF is a decision like this doing at the Board level? Does the Board consider paperclip purchases as well?
8. Do your clients know that this is how you decide “no-brainers”?
9. The odds are the best project management training/approach will vary from department to department. Are you going to figure out the best approach for each department? Starting with the smallest?
10. Is this how you decide on your technology investments too? How are those 386 computers working out?
Sorry, I had to vent. I hope this is a firm where great lawyers overcome bad management.