Ever been on an IT project that turned into a disaster? I certainly have. Did you know that the process cycle of dealing with a disaster closely mimics that of an IT project cycle?
In a well-thought out presentation at 2:30PM Friday at the Westin (Chastain F–H), Hans Eckman (@HansEckman) discussed how planning for a zombie apocalypse can teach you how to survive your next IT project. As anyone in IT will tell you, one is very similar to the other.
Eckman began by talking about the reasons projects fail, such as unattainable goals and insurmountable constraints. The focus of the talk centered on preparedness and developing a roadmap which lays out each step of the business/disaster process. The roadmap underscores the fact that it’s one hundred times costlier to make mistakes during production than during a planning phase on paper.
A disaster like the zombie apocalypse happens in five major stages:
Stage 0: Before the Event
Stage 1: Disaster Strikes
Stage 2: Resupply
Stage 3: Secondary Collapse
Stage 4: Recovery
Imagine life within that framework during a disaster. We have a normal every day citizen—let’s call her Jane. Jane is completely unprepared for the looming apocalypse. She’s been busy lately building her popcorn ball catering business. So busy, in fact she hasn’t had time for the basics like grocery shopping or putting gas in the car. Life is just gliding along as she picks up a pumpkin spice latte the morning of the event.
Then, the sky opens up and zombies begin to rain down. Jane and her thousands of suburban friends take cover in their fully finished rec room basements. But Jane is down to eating Saltine crackers covered in marshmallow fluff, so she and her thousands of friends go to grocery stores and try to resupply.
Eventually, however, the demand for basic resources far outweighs the supply and we see a secondary collapse. It could be years before society recovers.
That same logic can be applied to projects. The planners begin to put together a roadmap. Then, the deadline begins to loom closer and the team scrambles to beg borrow and steal more resources. They find themselves constrained by money and time before finally (for better or worse) the solution is implemented.
For some solid survival tips (both business and disaster), check out Eckman’s website http://www.hanseckman.com.