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The Project Assassin returns!

The Project Assassin has been musing on which areas of programmes and projects are most vulnerable to attack and has decided that there are three obvious candidates.

Measurement, Change and Reward


Measurement is a soft target because many don't measure anything meaningful; those who measure lots of things get lost in the data and rarely look at the information; what does get measured is what is easiest to measure rather than what the programme/project is intended to do.

The Project Assassin need do little more than maintain the status quo as the lemmings are already heading for the cliff. Yes, I know that our view of lemming behaviour is based on a film in which they might have been given a little shove, but the budding Project Assassin must not be above giving the odd nudge in the right direction when others are trying to avoid the drop. The usual nudge is to keep people away from numbers, particularly those expressed in monetary terms.


Change is a ubiquitous target because it applies not only to the aims of the project but to the constraints under which it is operating and to the people involved.

There is therefore ample scope for all sorts of nefarious activity:


Reward is an obvious target but one that is often missed! People will tend to do what they are rewarded for; they won’t tend to do what they are not rewarded for.

Happy hunting grounds?

For the Project assassin, the best projects are clearly those where:
  1. What is wanted is least easily expressed in financial terms
  2. The target changes, the budget changes and the people are rotated into and out of the project
  3. People suffer for successful project delivery and benefit from project failure (e.g. by more funding being made available to areas in trouble than those that are succeeding)
  4. Those who take risks are not well thought of


Hmmm. Don't tell them that I sent you!