The project manager and his pregnant wife

Adding resources

Today I’ve (again) seen this quote on Twitter:

“A project manager is someone who thinks that 9 pregnant women can create a baby in 1 month”

This obviously isn’t the case. The story demonstrates that adding more people to a team won’t (necessarily) make the team more effective. Because some processes can’t be cut into smaller pieces and taken up by more people. It will even cause a bit of overhead, more opinions and thus, more time.

Our feature baby (for real)

What about one woman?

Everybody knows 9 women can’t create a baby in 1 month… so it isn’t fair to make that comparison. How about one pregnant woman and the project manager?

Four weeks into the ‘project’ the project manager has his monthly meeting with his pregnant wife:

Month #1
Project manager: “How is everything going?”
Wife: “Oh, just fine, no problems at all”
Project manager: “Is there anything I can help you with?”
Wife: “No, currently not, everything is going like it is supposed to”
Project manager: “When do you think this baby-project is going to be completed?”
Wife: “Well, it takes 9 months, so 8 months from now!”

Month #2
Project manager: “Hey, is everything still going fine?”
Wife: “Yes, still feeling fine.”
Project manager: “Is there anything I can help you with?”
Wife: “No, nothing that I can think of right now.”

Month #3
Project manager: “Hey, still working on that baby?”
Wife: “Yes, I’m starting to have a bit of morning sickness now…”
Project manager: “Oh, can I help you with that?”
Wife: “Not really, it is just something I have to live with”
Project manager: “How does this affect the release date?”
Wife: “It doesn’t, I think… but I really wish we could release a bit sooner!”

Month #4
Project manager: “Hey, still having that morning sickness issue?”
Wife: “A little bit, but it is almost gone now”
Project manager: “Still on track for the release date?”
Wife: “Yes, 5 months from now!”

Month #5
Project manager: “How is it going? Morning sickness issue resolved?”
Wife: “Yes, but I need icecream and pickles.”
Project manager: “I’m on it. Any updates about the release date?”
Wife: “ICECREAM!”

Month #6
Project manager: “Anything I can do for you right now?”
Wife: “Yes, I think you can start building that baby room”
Project manager: “When do you need it, when is the baby ready?”
Wife: “Three months from now.”

Month #7
Project manager: “The baby room is almost ready, how is that baby going?”
Wife: “Just fine, just very tired. Two more months.”

Month #8
Project manager: “I’ve got some more pickles for you!”
Wife: “You know I hate pickles :-( I’m tired…”
Project manager: “Sorry, how is the release coming along?”
Wife: “One more month.”

Month #9
Project manager: “Is the baby there yet?”
Wife: “No, not yet, I’m tired but fine”
Project manager: “But…? What about the release?”
Wife: “Go away.”

Month #9 (plus one week)
Project manager: “What is the delay? Where is my baby?”
Wife: “It isn’t here yet.”
Project manager: “How come? How did this happen!? I kept asking about the release date and you kept saying it would be done a week ago!?”
Wife: “Get out.”

Month #9 (plus two weeks)
Wife: “I’m ready! I’ve got this lovely baby for you.”
Project manager: “Great, where did it go wrong with that planning?”
Project manager: “That babyroom has been ready for weeks now, and no baby!”
Project manager: “How can we keep this from happening next time? Scrum? Lean? Agile? RUP?”
Wife: “Screw you.”

This story also has an important message in it, I’ll just leave that as an exercise for the reader.