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The Carpenter Project Management Theory
By Jignesh Bhatt

Lately I have been getting a lot of work done from my local carpenter and I realized there are stark similarities between project management process followed by a carpenter to the way IT projects are driven.

  • Carpenters pitch for the project with an estimate based on scope of work.
  • A lot of negotiations happen with the carpenter to arrive at a cost that we feel right. The Carpenter would highlight the estimate by mentioning the number of days to be put in, transportation costs, the number of workers involved, specialized material to be used and why the customized work he does is a lot better than the ready made stuff in the market.

  • Execution of the project can be iterative – one room at a time, or waterfall – all rooms together.

  • The carpenter is pressured to finish work early. A lot of round the clock work is the norm.

  • The finishing touches are added after the project is live.

  • Clear payment terms are set for project execution.

  • Change controls are very clear, minor changes are usually accommodated.

  • A carpenter does a lot of other housekeeping beyond the original scope of work.

  • Post execution support is usually lax with carpenters busy with other projects.

Still on many counts the carpenter executes the project with a lot more surety, a lot less bugs and on time with a clear eye on project profitability. There are a very few failed projects and very little re-work in their line of business, something that a lot of IT companies would love to emulate. I think there is a lot more to learn from them or other such professionals in their fields and map them to IT project management practices.

Jignesh Bhatt is an IT Project Manager in New York City.

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