Fixing the Problem
If you’re a project leader, you do need to set deadlines and be able to meet them or at the very least extend them if items such as budget overruns or supply changes are needed. Or, if the right resources aren’t available or the end product or process didn’t turn out as expected, your deadline extension should be requested as soon as it’s realized. This is easily done through great risk management and change control plans.
More people complain about the post office than they do about overnight carriers like Fed Ex and I don’t get it. As I said earlier, the U.S. Post Office is still the cheapest way to get what you need to send to the other party; however, what’s the problem? Two words: The Internet.
These days people can scan attachments, legally sign electronic documents, and marry a plethora of documents and deliver them faster through the speed of the Internet, email and other technology options, which makes those postal workers a little obsolete.
The administration should have seen this coming—in my opinion—and begging Congress to come up with $5.5 billion to save this institution this late in the game is not a great idea. Am I saying sure, let the Post Office close down; who cares right? No folks, I’m not saying that because there are still too many Americans who don’t have Internet access or the knowledge to use technology to ensure important correspondence is delivered.
My 83-year old Mom is a great example here because she knows nothing about the Internet and doesn’t own a computer. She relies heavily on the post office because she has children and grandchildren living in three different states with one of them being located in Alaska. She’s on a fixed income so overnight options are too expensive and very often those promised deadlines offered by UPS, especially to Alaska, are never met, which makes the post office the most reliable way to go—at least for her—and there are many other individuals in situations just like hers.
Still, it’s hard for me to excuse Post Office officials who let this deadline loom so close. I know the economy is bad and they are losing customers to online delivery options, but wouldn’t a risk management plan have foreseen this? Shouldn’t some top dog government technology expert (think Al Gore here—everyone needs Internet access) have stepped up to the plate and said, "This institution is facing some severe issues on revenues and expenses?"
As a project manager if you’re consistently late on meeting deadlines, I also find it hard to “feel for you." I’m not talking about allowable extensions but the final, must-have, will do as promised deadline.
A great project manager well skilled in the phases of project management offered by the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) really has no excuse and if you find yourself consistently not meeting deadlines, I’d freshen up that resume and fast—just don’t leave it in the copy machine.
What are your thoughts on the lack of risk management and a change control plan when it comes to the U.S. Post Office dilemmas? Does the size of the company make a difference? It really shouldn’t, right?
Drop me a comment with your opinion and isn’t it awesome you don’t have to snail mail me?