One of our project management author colleagues – one Kimberly Wiefling – she of Scrappy Project Management and other great Scrappy books, recently posted on Facebook on the subject of men leaving the toilet seat up, and how that might disqualify them from ‘running the world’.
We refuse to get into THAT specific argument with her, especially since a full and detailed survey of all EarthPM male employees and their spouses revealed a 100% compliance with toilet seat etiquette.
However: she did bring “up” (excuse the pun, but this is a semi-lighthearted, semi-tongue-in-cheek posting anyway) a very interesting point which actually has a takeaway message for project managers.
Let’s look at the “project” of using the bathroom for, well, we’ll call it, elimination of waste.
The project (hopefully) is of fairly short duration, and has a very specific outcome. The outcome: you leave the bathroom refreshed, relieved, and cleaned (and a little lighter).
So if you’re a male, and you are taking care of your “project” in a standing-up fashion (see, we’re keeping it clean here), after you flush and wash your hands, you’re done with the “project”, right?
No sir, you are not.
Not if there are other stakeholders in the living or working space who are seated for their “projects”, no. You are not really done, because you have considered only the outcome of the project. You should be thinking beyond the project and toward the overall objectives of the living/working space – which includes a good relationship with persons of all genders!
So, if you remember to put the seat back down, you have made that connection that must be made between strategy/objectives and steady state operations. By putting the seat down, you have thought about the environment of the project (the bathroom, and the living space) rather than simply your “project”. You have thought about sustaining stakeholder relationships and not just relieving pressure on your internal organs.
This is what we’ve been preaching, and it took Kimberly to put it forward in a concise, graphic sort of way.
In fact (and this is for the sake of comedy) we have already said that the “People, Planet, Profits” expression needed another “P”, and we did that by adding Projects to it – to get the quadruple bottom line. I wonder if Ms. Wiefling has discovered the quintuple bottom line – the fifth P being, well, er, Putting The Seat Down. Ha! You thought we were going to say something else, didn’t ya!
You really should give Kim Wiefling’s books a shot. We use Scrappy Project Management in our Essentials of PM training class, as a counterpoint to the PMBOK® Guide. Her new book is called Scrappy Women in Business: Living Proof that Bending the Rules Isn’t Breaking the Law.
Give it a chance. Perhaps you can read it while… never mind…