Project management, lessons learned from failed Project “Form government for Belgium”

You won’t find a lot of politics on this blog. On the day that Yves Leterme failed after 1 year to create a plan for his government, I want to use that as an example to talk about Project management.

In every project we have 4 variables:

Resources: the people

Time: The deadline when you have to deliver the project

Scope: what do you want to deliver in the project


As a customer/project manager, you can fix 3 of these. The 4the should be free for the people building the project.
Personally I think that quality is not really free. Any project with bad quality will not have a healthy life.

(Yes I know about throw away projects, this example is not one of them)

Let’s look at the project that Yves Leterme did:

Resources: Who are the resources from this project. I think that based on the elections of last year, the resources are fixed. At least the resources themselves think that.(Based on the votes they received.)

Time: If I’m not mistaken, there was twice a deadline set. The last one was 15 July 2008 (today). So that is fixed too.

Quality: like I said high quality is fixed for most projects. I think that is especially true in the case of a government.

Scope: This is the only variable that could be free to play with. Now with all that was promised during the election by all parties that really was not free also.

(On top of that some parties won the elections with almost opposite promises)

In my opinion a project with these 4 variables being fixed you are ready to go for a disaster.

On top of that I’m convinced that every project needs a shared vision state between the developers of the project. During the several bootcamp’s I organized the last year, we talked a lot about the Belgium government and their lack of shared vision. We have joked allot that we should send Yves and his team to BootCamp. Maybe we should make them a real offer.