Monday, January 18, 2021

The argument: tangible vs intangible

And, so this often happens:
You have hard facts, figures, gadgets, devices, applications, and hardware
"They" have soft power: concepts, promises, understandings, reputation, and the moral high ground

In the life of the project, there may come to pass a disagreement, a challenge, or an argument about which way the project should go: Your stuff vs their stuff; hard vs soft; which are to be the deciding factors?

Sometimes, this dilemma is posed as "they" coming at it "top down" as a value judgment, and you coming at it bottoms up, building your case from the ground up with 'facts'.

Sometimes this dilemma as posed as the 'strategic business vision' vs the tactical objectives of the project: cost, schedule, scope, and quality.

Who's on first?

Sometimes, the 'strategic' trumps the 'tactical', and that's that. The intangible argument simply overcomes any tangible facts to the contrary. That is -- if the facts are right -- there will be compromises and perhaps sacrifices in the name of strategic vision.

Sometimes, those with the intangibles and the soft power try to reach an accommodation with the project 'facts': if so, a common factor is needed. And, by the way, if you can find a common factor between the seeming 'apples' an 'oranges', you'll find it's most likely to be money. 

Money speaks

Now, monetizing soft power is notoriously tricky, and certainly more tricky than monetizing the facts, figures, gadgets, etc.

But, there are those that contend that there is a price -- or cost -- for everything, so maybe you can monetize it all

Projects vs business

At the end of the day, all else considered, business usually trumps project. Your job, as PM, is to use 'your stuff' to attain or make good 'their stuff', taking commensurate risks to do so. 

In effect, you own the balance sheet: Your assets, inflated -- as required -- by the risks you'll take, builds the outcomes necessary to match up to the business 'druthers'.

This all collectively is the conception I call the project manager's balance sheet. More detail here


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