David is an electrical engineer. He likes technical things - like electronics, hardware, software, and developing systems. He graduated from a Swiss technical school a few years ago. He gets along very well with other people he works with. Right after he graduated, he got a good job as a development engineer with a medium-size engineering company.
David likes his job and his boss. When he has time, he continues his training by taking technical courses. This afternoon the company's CEO asked David to come into his office for a meeting. But David doesn't know why. He's a bit nervous. Did he do something wrong, he thinks? His boss and the CEO are waiting for him at 15.00 in the CEO's office.
The CEO says to David, "David, you're doing very good work here. We're glad you're with us." David smiles and says, "Thanks."
Then David's boss says, "David, our CEO just signed a big important contract for a large order of electronic machines, software and a complex management control system, but there are several problems. The customer is in the USA and is a bit hard to get along with. They are very demanding and often very critical, even unpleasant to work for. But we know that you get along with almost everyone. The customer wants delivery of the whole system by 01 April 20xx because they have a contract with the U.S. government. These government people are launching a new system on 01 May 20xx. Our customer therefore cannot afford to be late, so they put heavy penalties in our contract for every week we are delayed in deliverying.
But the biggest problem I have right now is that all of our project managers are already tied up on one or more big projects, so I can't give them this project. We don't want to hire an external project manager because everybody knows they are so expensive and often not even qualified.
So your boss and I talked this situation over and we want you, David, to manage this project for us! You know the engineering involved. We know that. You work well with other people, we also know that. We know that at the technical school you attended, you took a course in project management, so you know something about how to manage a project, right?"
David is a bit shocked! He sinks down lower where he is sitting. He smiles, but is not happy. He doesn't know what to say or do. He wants to continue with his engineering job, he doesn't want to be a manager. That's just a lot of bull sh** he thinks - just paperwork, meetings, customer visits, change requests, presentations to management, etc. So David says to his boss and the CEO, "Listen, that's nice that you have confidence in me, but I don't have confidence in myself to manage such an important project. You know - I have never managed even a small project here or anywhere else.
The CEO then says that he has an idea. He says, "Listen David, we need you. I understand your situation. I think you understand our situation. I will do everything I can to help you to set up and manage this project. I am sure there are some things we can do so you don't have many difficulties on this project."
They all shake hands and David leaves the room and goes back to his office. He doesn't particularly like project management or management bull sh**, he likes engineering and technical things. He's a "techie" and proud of it. But, "What the he**", he thinks, he can still concentrate on the technical aspects of the project - he knows that all projects have to deliver products or services or something (his textbook, he recalls, use to call those things "deliverables") - so yeah, that's what he will do. And his boss and the CEO will arrange some kind of assistance, help, or support for him they said. Perfect. "No problem," he thinks.
... as he decides to leave the office and grab a couple of beers, ... "It'll all work out somehow, I hope." He has heard from some project managers in his company that projects are not always easy and that there can be difficulties ... but he figures, "So what?" "That's life, isn't it?"
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