Wednesday, December 6, 2006

December 6, 2006 - Christmas Concert Managed to Perfection

’Tis the season for Christmas concerts at the school my daughter attends. After quickly doing the math to determine how many songs she will be participating in, the question became “will we end on time?” By asking that question I began crossing the line from sitting back and enjoying the presentation to project management.

The program I received became a task list to be checked off as each performance finished. By estimating an average of 3 minutes per piece and allowing time for groups to enter and exit the stage the task list grew into a project schedule. It was all down hill from there.

As I marked each performance complete and checked the actual time spent against my baseline, I observed some great management techniques being demonstrated:

  1. Phase Zero – Some projects have preparation work that is necessary to complete before the start of the project. They incorporated this “Phase Zero” approach at the concert. Prior to the start time there was a group singing in the entrance, which moved that effort prior to the start of the project.
  2. Stakeholder Management – Between different groups the audience was distracted by having to sing Christmas carols. Keep your stakeholders involved.
  3. Multi-Tasking – As the carols were being sung to cover the transition, the kids due up next were hurrying to their places, making an otherwise disjointed scramble into a seamless transition.
  4. Time Management – The carol leader assessed the progress of the groups taking their places on stage and could reduced or lengthen the audience singing time to end when everyone was ready.
  5. Resource Management – At one point while a group performed on stage right, the next group was assembling in the middle of the stage for their performance.

To my surprise, the concert came in under budget by 8 minutes. It was obvious that the teamwork demonstrated was the result of years of perfecting this show. If only all of our projects ran as smoothly.

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