what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

project management and modern work places


Guess who?
For the past 20 years my technical title has been "Team Leader" of various EU projects of Technical Assistance. I have generally enjoyed the projects - as they introduced me to new countries, cultures, friends and roles.
The last 16 months have been much more difficult.
The main reason has been the contact with the tight control now exercised on EU projects - almost daily monitoring. On one recent project there were 4 young graduates in an office nearby whose only job was to approve and monitor what we 3 key experts we were doing! I had to record what I did every day. On a draft of my first monthly timesheet, I entered a trip to the toilet just to test their vigilance - but then didn't have the courage to sustain the challenge!
So much bureaucracy, schedule planning and organisation of travel trips on most projects now!!!! Sad because, intellectually, I think I have a lot to contribute....perhaps now more as a shortterm expert?
I was so lucky with my previous projects of the past 18 years - being left alone, trusted and with excellent admin support.

In the blog on November 14, I summarised Zuboff's powerful critique of the alienating and ineffective nature of modern organisations. Project management is now a disease.
The (major) mistake New Public Management made was to model itself on such perversities. Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" is now transposed from factories to offices....
A nice googlebook which pursues the theme - The Book of F-Laws - Russell Ackoff and H Addison (updated commentary by S Bibb). Russell Ackoff was, of course, the guru of systems thinking in the 1960s. You can also get a summary version here.
ps the graphic is ....Albrecht Durer!

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