Part 4 - Bob worries about Jason

In the cold light of day Bob has two worries about Jason. Firstly he’s a consultant and Bob is wary about consultants of all kinds, even family. Bob thinks that ‘all kinds’ is not a useful term as there is only one type of consultant: the type who you hire to answer some specific questions but who spend their time unhelpfully developing yet more questions which you can then hire them to solve.

Worry number two is that Jason and Bob share a surname and he does not relish being lambasted for nepotism.

Nepotism in all forms of UK life is a definite no-no, except that is, in the royal family where it is mandatory.
It is exactly at this moment that Bob realises a third worry – Jason is a little theoretical, has plenty of experience of telling others what to do but little experience of actually doing anything for himself.

Later on, a small sub-process in his brain will wonder where a phrase like ‘lambasted for nepotism’ came from. Even later he will realise he should stop watching talk shows on late night TV.

After Jason leaves the group, Bob is just about to delicately lead the discussion round to the possibility of hiring someone like Jason rather than a much more expensive management consultant when the CFO comes to his rescue with the same suggestion. This sounds much better coming from an independent source, which is exactly why the CFO and Bob had previously arranged to handle it this way.

Despite the worries expressed quite openly by Bob they decide to take a chance and offer Jason a job with the company.

And so the SpendItNow directors, led from the back by Bob and from the front by the CFO, offer Jason a job with a brief to implement portfolio management within the organisation. The directors realise that this is going to be much cheaper than an external management consultant so the board members can blame Jason and Bob if it all goes terribly wrong and pat themselves on the back for saving money if it all goes well.

Later that evening, Bob finds it very easy to persuade Jason to leave his consultancy career for a few years and come and sort out SpendItNow’s portfolio management. Jason is unable to peer around the edge of his large ego and worry about the family issue as he just knows he is the best person for the job.

The discussion has also convinced the board to give the e-Trolley project a chance. They say they think that it might just work out and, as some think but don’t say, if it fails, it will ‘bring Mr Sherunkle down into the real world where projects just sort of happen and life is more relaxed’.

In more formal terms, the board has approved a project that is effectively the ‘identification phase’ of a programme – see life cycle for more information.

They decide not to decide to go full ahead just yet but do decide to put someone onto the idea to have a good look and generally check it out. They don’t use the terms but they are about to set off on a discovery project, one designed to investigate an idea before any big commitment is made.

The CFO is inspired by all of this common sense and appoints a project manager to look at the whole e-Trolley idea. He searches for someone who is not too closely tied into one specific part of the organisation and it is clear that this new project will cover almost all departments and functions.
Anna Key is that project manager, and she is charged with coming up with a report on the viability of the e-Trolley idea.

Anna is a very striking lady. Men admire Anna’s appearance. Women admire her ability to get up early enough to look the way she does. She is so efficient that many of her colleagues are quite intimidated simply by her presence. She is nearly 30; has short dark hair; large brown piercing eyes; a neat nose and high cheekbones.  Her background is indiscernible and few, if any, dare ask her much about her personal life in case their inquiries are taken as ‘unprofessional’. Unprofessional is one of the last things you would want to be anywhere near Anna. Unprofessional would be down on her no-no list along with sexist, racist and smelly.

Whilst she would admit it to no one, including herself, Anna leads a sometimes lonely life, moving from work to gym to supermarket and city centre flat without much in between. She does relax with her close, mostly female, friends when they get together but an increasing number are getting married and having babies. Some are still fairly happy to spend time with Anna despite her obvious boredom with babies, their ailments and other household matters. These same women will also be happy if Anna stays permanently on a different continent to their husbands.

Anna knows little about project management and has never heard of programme management or portfolio management, but she has been involved in assorted projects and sees this opportunity as a great chance to progress her career. Working on a high profile project and close to the new CEO is her idea of ‘getting somewhere’. She has visions of herself at board meetings and knee-deep in thick carpet and immediately gets annoyed with herself with such trivial ambitions. But the project appeals to her much more than a bag of nappies ever could.

And if many of her ambitions were driven by her father’s ambitions for his, at the time, slightly disappointingly female child, this does not diminish in any way her enthusiasm and drive.

On the other hand, she has yet to meet Jason.




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