Let’s build a wall

This is not a political post.

Yesterday, I received an email asking for my input into, comment on, a project to build a wall. I can’t tell you which wall.

It wasn’t a joke. I started to imagine a wall of great attraction (if you have to have a wall, might as well look good, right?).

It got me thinking. Have I found a teaching moment? Is this the perfect example of one of the pitfalls for an unsuspecting Project Manager?

Is this really a project to build a wall? Or is it a project to reduce/eliminate unwelcome movement of people from one place to another?

Clearly, the mechanism for has been determined to be a wall. But what does ‘wall’ mean?

Should the PM:

  1. Revisit the wall as the best way to achieve the goal?
  2. Run, it’s a bloody stupid idea anyway?
  3. Start contacting their bricklayer mates who’ll do a great job for a great price?
  4. Plan to build the best wall ever?
  5. Get a clear definition and description of the finished wall before doing anything?
  6. Ask what they’re accountable for; a nice wall or reduced/eliminated unwelcome migration of people from one place to another?

For mine, the PM’s not responsible for reducing the movement of people.

The PM is responsible for delivering a wall (tactic) which will enable the strategy (physical barrier to migration) to achieve the goal (reduced unwelcome arrivals).

The pitfall will be realised at the very moment the PM assumes they know what is meant by ‘wall’.

Oh, and I politely declined to be involved.

What do you think? What would you do?