Undocumented but practised processes of project management: Blame Management
perhaps even countless approaches and best practices can be found for projects
and for dealing with projects. Often they differ only insignificantly, which stems
from the nature of things, or better said, from the nature of project
management. After all, there is a certain consensus about the most important
aspects and topics in this environment. Only in the weighting of the topics and
then possibly in the details do the different approaches differ. However, one
thing strikes you: not all the important procedures commonly used in practice
are included in these descriptions. And these tried and tested approaches often
make the difference between personal success and personal failure. We need to
bridge this gap.
following is a detailed and process-oriented description of one of the most
important aspects of successful project work: the process of blame assignment
and administration (blame management).
talk broadly about international company takeovers, joint ventures and
corporate co-operations, there is an interpersonal aspect behind these economic
headlines: teams that previously were often active only in their own language
and cultural area need to initiate international cooperation. I have already
experienced this situation in two companies (one formerly German and one
formerly Dutch) and am aware of the uncertainties that the initial phase of an
international team structure brings with it. The time is not always there to prevent
all potential gaffes with hazard warnings. I can assure you that under the
pressure of day-to-day business, people very often blunder, even with the very
In my last
post I wrote something about crypto currencies and blockchain, but only hinted
at what blockchains can be used for and what the fundamental innovations of
blockchain technology are. For me, it’s the fact that the double-spend problem
is finally solved – transparently and without having to trust a central authority.
does that mean in detail? The easiest way to explain double spending is as
follows: If you buy a book in the real analogue world , you pay for a book once
and get a book once . And only you own the book physically. If your
neighbours want to read it too because you raved on about how great the book
is… Well, then you have to “lend” it, i.e. give it away – then your
neighbour will have it. Thus there’s only one “instance” of the book,
unless you copy it yourself and then distribute it (but let’s forget that now
before we do overdo it 😊).
companies, the Conference Call is the easiest way to hold meetings with
participants from different countries. Depending on the company’s policy, this
is done as a video call (with web cams) or audio only. Both have pros and cons.
The advantage of the
video call is that it becomes easier to follow what is happening, because you
can see the participants talking and can recognize and interpret any emerging
anger, impatience or lack
of understanding earlier.
The advantage of “audio only” calls, on the other hand, is that you can take part in meetings that take place in the middle of the night or in the early morning due to the time difference, even in your pyjamas, without anyone noticing it. In addition, you can wander around the house during the meeting – equipped with a headset. However, it makes sense to know the range of your headset, otherwise you might miss crucial dramatic moments.
…or how I learned to stop worrying and love Big Data.
For the last couple
of years I have been dabbling with genealogy. My family in England has always
been convinced we were related to Jack Cornwell, a 16-year-old Naval recruit
who died a heroic death at the Battle of Jutland in the First World War. My
mother was German so I was curious about that side of me too. Most of my
relatives are dead, so I had just a few recollections of family anecdotes and a
handful of old photographs to start with.
Internet to the
rescue! Mormons in Salt Lake City, whose mission in life is to find salvation
for their forefathers by genealogical research and ordinances performed by
proxy for them, run several online sites to help you “discover your family’s story.” The story goes that before and after the
Second World War dozens of Mormon researchers photographed and transcribed huge
numbers of church and public records in Europe long before anyone had thoughts
about data security. There are now millions of records on their databases.
was an eventful year. On the last day of the year I saw the news from
OceanCleanup, a great project that first had to fight huge resistance and is
now experiencing a setback. But actually this article is about Bitcoin and
Blockchain. By the end of 2017, Bitcoin and many other crypto currencies had
reached heights that made many dream (and some are converting all their
belongings into cash (1) to invest in Bitcoin and benefit from the hype). You
could also say: greed had gripped people and in 2018 the situation returned to normal.
But what comes next?
land of lemons, bitter orange and automobilisti. Well, I confess I don’t know
the names of the different Italian lemon varieties, but Maserati, Alfa Romeo,
Lamborghini and Ferrari have been engraved in my memory since the 60s – trained
in countless breaks in the school playground, with the then absolutely hip car
version of “Happy Families”. “12 cylinder Ferrari” would have been the
certain game winner, if only the number of seats hadn’t been the deciding
hardly anyone had then seen one of these sports cars in real life anyway. Even
the anointed ones who drove to the Adriatic with their parents in the VW Beetle
(at the back) during the “big holidays”, hardly ever saw a Ferrari,
Lamborghini etc. on Italian roads. How could they? Italian roads were even
narrower than German country roads and full of racing bikes, three-wheeled vans
and Fiat 500s. Italian sports cars were the dream of my youth – perhaps a
fiction, but technologically leading edge. What is Italy like
Once upon a
time there was a great king who had ruled his country for many years. He also
had a beautiful daughter, who grew up with frogs and dwarves, but that is
completely irrelevant to this story.
had learned to protect his kingdom successfully against invaders and raids and
had fought many a battle. He had a big, strong army, so nobody dared to attack;
there was peace in his country for a long time.
But more and more travellers reported incredible changes in other parts of the world. Previously unknown kingdoms rose rapidly, while others disappeared into insignificance at the same speed.
Do you know
what happens next? This: “…they laugh at you, then they fight you and
then you win.”(1) A sentence often quoted by politicians, the weight of
which is increased by the reference to Gandhi and with which you can always make
an impression. Thus the populist politician Frauke Petry felt inclined to twitter
this quote on 24.09.2017 to the result of the Bundestag election. Hmm…. But actually
people say it didn’t come from Gandhi himself but from the US-American trade
unionist Nicholas Klein a good 100 years ago.
The trainer has organized a transfer exercise in the seminar so that the participating manager can translate what he or she has heard and said to his or her working environment. Unfortunately, this transfer does not always work to everyone’s satisfaction. The manager takes it upon himself to change special points in his own behaviour, to organise himself more efficiently or to introduce new methods. But this often does not work as ideally conceived in the seminar. Then the environment was often “to blame”, which hindered the application of new approaches. But that is only half the story.