House of the Rising Sums

My fault. Mea maxima culpa. Yep, if this is the age of accountability then it's upon my shoulders the blame should firmly be placed. Because, as the business unit manager of Domestic Operations at Chez Kennedy Pty Ltd, I was the one who bought into the idea of painting every single room of the house and ultimately gave the go-ahead. Seduced by one too many Vogue Living case studies extolling transformation, I decided it was surely time to reinvent the business (in a manner of speaking). So blinded by the vision of competitive advantage, and with nary a thought about the consequences of my actions, I went for the whole enchilada.

Looking back I probably should have checked with the CFO (aka the hubby). I know I should have had a better plan.

The project start date was set, but not in stone as I quickly learned. Thinking that I had three weeks to get my house in order (literally), I was blindsided when the provider rang me and said he wanted to start two weeks early. Up to this point I had only focused on "that vision thing", not the actual project components or milestones.

So, for example, I had neglected to actually choose paint colours. And, because this was indeed a transformation, I was changing other established parts of the business, such as "window treatments" (those are Curtains v7.4), adding some new furniture and moving paintings from one room to another, which meant I had to call in consultants. Of course, never once did they agree on anything. They did, however, add another dimension to the project: scope creep.

Two days of intensive consultancy eventuated in massively changed specs: "I'd take down the picture rails"; "I want to see you making a dramatic statement with that wall"; "I wish I'd had first pass at those window treatments" - well, you get the drift.

So there I was making critical decisions on the fly, staying one step ahead of the avalanche of drop cloths and ladders, losing access to key parts of the house, putting up with my CFO's 7x24 I-told-you-so look. These are to be expected. What I hadn't anticipated was the total and complete disruption my decision to reinvent the business would cause.

If we truly were a business, my decision would have lost me a lot of customers. As it is, the only potential loss here was my CFO/husband, and he knows full well the bloodletting penalties that will be enforced if he tries to cancel that contract early.

The good news is that the transformation project is complete and only 44 percent over budget. As he wrote the cheque, my CFO was so happy to again have some space on the table that he didn't even complain about scope creep.

Of course, I haven't told him that the carpets are all wrong now and we need to start a new project next month.