Doing it all the hard way...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017


A word to the wise: Don't do an image search for "turd"
At times my job description sounds really cool.  We tell people that we take on projects when managers are constrained by bandwidth or skillset.  In practice what we find is that when parsing up a person’s bandwidth the part that gets sliced off and put on our plate is often the ugliest of their projects.

The first clue is how happy the client is to have us on board.  The second is the number of marks on the project from people touching it only with their ten foot poles.  When we start to take ownership of the messy project the leaders in the company rejoice.

It seems that a subset of a person’s bandwidth is their ability to handle projects that are messy, controversial, or just a lot of hard work.  I dubbed this a person’s “Terdwidth.”  They may have the capacity in simple hours, but their tolerance for dealing with challenging people, issues and systems is limited.
This looks like it could be pretty hard......  
Maybe you should take this one.
One could lament this position but in fact I have come to embrace it.  First off, because they were scared the managers usually avoid getting a good understanding of the problem for fear they would then be destined to own it forever. The by-product of this is that when we come to understand the scope we are met with awe and admiration from those who feared it in the first place.

The second is that like most things we are scared of, once you jump in you find it isn’t as bad as you thought.  We don’t share this with the client because doing so would lessen the "mystique." 

By maintaining a positive attitude throughout this process you further promote your legendary status by appearing unfazed by the scary task. 

At the project progresses all you have to do is continue to execute to the cheers and adulation of all.

Terdwidth may not become a widely used management term but perhaps it should.  Then again, I don’t think I want to become known as “The Turdmaster.”  I will also advise against searching for an image to go with "Turdmaster."

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