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Management Strategies

04:05 PM
Art Gillis
Art Gillis

What Bank Technology Project Managers Can Learn from the Ambush of Osama Bin Laden

The ambush of Osama Bin Laden contained hundreds of lessons for ordinary project managers.

I had a list of what's in the way of a stronger recovery for America. Which recovery, you ask? That's the problem, too many to name. After the takeout of Bin Laden and the superb performance by the Seals, I crunched up my gripes list, tossed it in the trash, and relished the one great success. Is this what is meant by "Good enough for government work?"

In addition to the direct-hit value of America's military machine, there will follow many lessons that will benefit all manner of pedestrian activities in our lives.

Here's my new check list for people who manage bank tech projects:

  • Be prepared for anything.
  • Identify all the anythings.
  • What if it doesn't work?
  • 99% accuracy ain't good enough.
  • Focus on what is.
  • Give equal time to the exceptions.
  • Pay attention to Murphy's Law.
  • Develop three back-up plans.
  • Calculate, calculate, calculate.
  • Don't trust conventional wisdom.
  • Don't trust anyone with a personal agenda.
  • Don't trust the politically correct guy.
  • Trust the mission.
  • Put emotions in your dresser drawer under next season's clothes.
  • Respect the ROI -- in the case of the Seals, "I" can be any amount, like 10 times what it cost to bail out Wall Street. ROI is unique for every project.
  • Technology is essential, but it takes just one human being to do the ultimate deed.
  • Challenge every optimist, pay attention to every pessimist.
  • Do enough dry runs so it becomes intuitive.
  • Get 100% sign off from the team and from the top.
  • Cater to the cynic until he becomes an advocate.
  • Ignore the guy who says, "Slam dunk."
  • Know who the boss is, make sure everyone knows.
  • Audit the work in progress by a disengaged party.
  • Publicize the event -- embarrassment is more powerful than penalty.
  • Know if and when to abort.
  • You were chosen, honor your chooser.
  • If you care what others will think, bow out early.
  • Success just means you'll be recruited for more to follow.
  • Say a little prayer -- your own, not one you heard on TV or at worship services.
  • Find a good dog to be the team's mascot.
  • Mother's Day is every day and she's still lookin' at ya, no matter where she is.
  • Forget celebrations for now, conduct a ground-up "user" satisfaction survey.
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