Project: Backburner

Project: Backburner

According to our State of the CIO 2006 respondents, the overwhelming backlog of projects is their number-one barrier to their success as CIOs. Could that be because the business buys into so-called solutions with the same level of forethought that I did in a recent purchase?

Well, look here - more real estate! We did a bit of tweaking and bumped the publisher's panel (that's the list of everyone we can think of who had something to do with putting the magazine together) off this page and now I've got more room. (BTW, if you're reading this online you'll have no idea what I'm talking about, but hey, them's the breaks in this multiple-channel world of information delivery.)

Like nature I abhor a vacuum so I figure I've now got a few more words up my sleeve every month. In fact, I'm a great filler upper of space even in my personal life, much to my husband's dismay. A few years ago we moved into a house that had so much storage space, the big guy made the mistake of musing that even I couldn't fill it up. Five years later we have both long-term and self-service storage space (and I'm not counting the garage where the cars no longer fit). I've even invested in a "stuff" lifecycle management solution (big plastic tubs), which wasn't really a solution at all because it just required another purchase: a label-maker.

Over the holiday break, I ended up with more stuff and a heap of problems - all because we needed to replace our dishwasher. Since the big guy does kitchen duty (he's also a new-age guy), I left the choice up to him and took a wander around the showroom. I discovered a six-burner stovetop. I wanted, I needed that six-burner stovetop, so I bought it while the hubby was still trying to decide whether or not he needed the super-duper-wash-anything-don't-need-to-scrape-computer-controlled dishwasher (he did).

But unfortunately my impulsive buy didn't take into account infrastructure. Here's just a partial list of my mistakes: I forgot my new six-burner stovetop wouldn't fit into the hole cut in my granite bench-top for my old four-burner model. I forgot that the hood above my current stove was too small for a six-burner. I forgot that two burners of the six-burner stovetop would end up sitting below a low-hanging cupboard and therefore be illegal and, even more important, a fire-hazard.

So this impulse buy project had scope-creep to the max. First I had to get someone in to cut a larger hole in my granite bench-top (and believe me, that is one dust-maker of a job) and then buy a new range-hood, which meant the project's budget doubled in size. Next I had to get a carpenter in to build new cabinets so the new range-hood would fit (make that triple in size) and live for six weeks without doors on one set of cupboards while the carpenter matched the wood (it's hard to put a price on something being a pain in the arse).

A little forethought would have stood me in good stead: saved me dollars, inconvenience, time, pain and heaps of dust. In fact, if I had stopped for one darn second and thought about whether or not I really needed that six-burner stovetop at all, I would never have plunked the old Amex down. Because, and I can never let the big guy know this, two of my six burners remain pristine.

Feel free to point to this column the next time the sales director tells you he's ready to buy shiny new sales automation software.

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