Dear Mr. President-Elect
(Originally posted on Iowabiz.com yesterday)
As of writing this, I do not know if I'm addressing John McCain or Barack Obama. My message is the same, regardless of which one of you wins.
First of all, congratulations on winning one of the most epic and historic elections ever. As one who loves the art and science of office politics, I've been riveted to the dramatic twists and turns the past 10 months have provided.
Now, however, it's time to get down to business. And I have but one request for your performance as "Leader of the Free World": it's time to quit acting like a politician and start acting like a project manager. Since you're a Washington Insider, I'll explain in simple terms and try to use small words:
- Prioritize - As a project manager, it's impossible to do everything to make everybody happy. Our profession is blocked in by the triple constraint. You'd better learn this principle quickly. You have a few things that are the top of everybody's minds: Economy, environment, education and enforcement being among them. Special interests and party politics will need to take a back seat.
- Define - once you've established your priorities, you will need to figure out what your project solution will look like. You're going to get battered around quite a bit, but you're the leader we elected, so we'll expect you to have the diplomatic backbone to sell your solutions across party lines and also make all of the Joe-The-Plumbers and Joe-Six-Packs content. Along with this, don't forget to create some metrics so you can prove to your nay-sayers you were successful.
- Plan - create a timeline for the tasks needed to make your solution. Get the right resources in place to make them a reality. Make a budget. Identify and strategize your risks. Set the expectations of your stakeholders. Don't get distracted by all of the special interests who will want to add to your plans. It's called "pork" and we're sick of it. (In project terms, we call it "scope creep." Either way, it's bad.)
- Lead - protect the project priorities, stay focused on the key things, execute your plans, remove obstacles for your project resources and keep us informed. Work with us... ALL of us... Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Federal employees, State employees, Local employees and regular citizens who know how to think and solve and articulate and get things done.
Regardless of which of you wins the election, my wish, my hope and my prayers are the same, Mr. President-Elect: Act more like a project manager than a politician and figure out how to Carpe Factum.