When I started my career, engineers didn’t write much of anything.  As I moved into the commercial world, it was hammered home that “executives only want a summary!” They won’t read more than two pages ever!  So just precis your two years of planning and preparation into 1,000 words, and no pictures unless necessary. 

At this end of my career, I look back and wonder if a factor in project failure and living dead businesses, is this obsession with understanding something complex like a child’s story.  How many times has a project failed because the exec summary had little resemblance to the reality? Was the milestone review accurate?

Prepare a great summary, even if its fiction, and you get the green light and the budget, away you go. We will ever know the truth of this matter, I doubt it.  Yet it’s doubly dangerous now for leaders to accept at face value what they perceive/expect is the true reality in the project office.

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