Project Story Outlines 1
Following on from the types of message project stories might have from my last post, I’ve decided to work them up into story outlines. The plan is that I’ll take the same setting for each story and show how they come out differently (assuming that they do).
I’ve decided to go for a four step story structure in each case.
Scene – Introduction to the setting and characters. Room for foreshadowing
Development – how events and characters developed over time
Crux – the exciting climax
Outcome – epilgoue/resolution.
I’ve also include a note on the events in the story and the specific message of the story (as well as the general message type) to try and highlight how what happens in a story is different to what the story is about.
In this post I’ll just be concentrating on those types with the Project Manager as the main character. Next post should be the ones with the organisation as main character.
Note: the following setting, project, people and organisation are all completely fictious. I’ve made an effort to try and make sure it doesn’t reflect any project I’ve ever been a part of, though, as many projects share similar issues, hopefully there should be some aspects that resonate.
The Townsville Software Co has decided to implement a new Customer Relationship Management System. Currently account managers manage contact with clients individually on a variety of systems and non-systems. This project involved a cross-department project team including, marketing, sales, IT, as well as a project manager and officer from the company’s project office. It was expected that an external system would be bought in, with bespoke modifications as necessary.
At the time the story is submitted, as part of the final report, the project is over deadline, has failed to deliver and the project team has disbanded.
Type: Full disclosure – what the PM took away from the project
Events – The so-called project team refused to do anything towards the project.
Message – this team/organisation can’t work together!
Scene – Introducing each of the team members and their hang ups/the roadblocks they bring from the very beginning. Also all the issues that were just mounding up waiting to happen.
Development – how it starts to go wrong: team members not showing up, not doing what they are asked, deliberately being argumentative and making things difficult. Also there technical issues, but the focus is on how impossible it was to get anything done.
Crux – Got ridiculously over deadline. Project meeting with only one project member aside from the PM meant time to call a halt to the project.
Outcome – This team cannot work together – PM gives up!
Type: Promotion of the Project Manager
Events – The PM tried to hold it together as long as possible and worked really hard.
Message – The PM is great even in adversity.
Scene – PM does as much as possible to get the project team together (light on the specifics of how they do this apart from sending reminder emails) and starts what bits they can on their own.
Development – PM continues to get no help from team. They try and try to get team together to no avail. They start to do what work they can themselves even though it’s not their job. Technical issues start to appear, but those were outside of the PMs remit.
Crux – PM tried did their best, but they are only one person and couldn’t keep up.
Outcome – PM has proved they are good at what they do so should continue to be put on to challenging projects.
Next post: How the organisation has changed, lessons learned and promotion of the project outputs.