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The Feng Shui Blessing and Purging

Feng_shui_tips_3I looked at the project plan for the facilities move with my client.  We had been working for weeks, ensuring that all of the tasks had been identified, that they had been sequenced correctly, that the right resources had been assigned, and that they had the correct work effort and duration assigned to them.

Because my client contact worked for a company with strong Far East influences, he suddenly remembered one critical task which had to be complete before the owners would allow them to operate in their new warehouse/office facility:  they would be bringing in a resource to perform a Feng Shui Blessing and Purging... you know, get rid of any evil spirits from prior occupants of the land, make sure that the chi was flowing freely in the right directions, that kind of thing.

I didn't bat an eye or crack a smile.  I asked him the same questions I would ask when faced with any other task I'd never heard of before:

  • What has to be complete before the Blessing and Purging can take place?
  • What is dependent on the Blessing and Purging?  Can we move in furniture and complete wiring?  (Evidently, evil spirits won't affect wiring, even though many I.T. guys have tried to convince me otherwise.)
  • What kind of resource do you need and how long will it take them to perform the Feng Shui Purging and Blessing?  (For the record, it takes two skilled Feng Shui holy people - sorry, don't know their technical title - approximately 2-4 hours to complete this task for a 50,000 square foot facility.)

So you see, the excuse of "we've never done this task before" is just that:  an excuse.  If somebody is smart enough to identify that a task needs to be done, then they become your point person for answering these simple questions to allow your project plan to keep going.  I've found that if they balk at answering these questions, I'll sometimes threaten to remove their task (blame the contrarian in me).  It's amazing how quickly they come up with answers.

The quick solution is this:

  • Find people (it may require talking to someone outside your company) who have some familiarity with the task and will help you.  If possible, avoid talking to consulting or software salespeople when seeking this kind of help; you won't get a straight answer and the result may be the same as feeding a stray neighhborhood mongrel.
  • Use estimating techniques such as the PERT tool, analogous or parametric estimating, etc.  These may all sound technical and frightening, but I've yet to hear of an aspiring project manager losing life or limb in the process.  Just follow the links I've provided and if you still get stuck, contact me.
  • Sometimes you have to be brave, suck it up, and just give a silly wild a** guess (SWAG) based on what you know at the time.  Provide a few assumptions about why you are estimating the way you are.  If your project stakeholders know up front that you're providing an "educated guess" they tend to be more forgiving when the estimate needs to be adjusted.

Changes are high that you will come across your own Feng Shui Purging and Blessing.  But instead of shrugging in the defeat that you've never done this before, you can now keep your head on straight and get your project chi flowing nicely.

Carpe Factum!

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