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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

VUGs and Projects

I like the quote by Malcolm Forbes that goes, "You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them". I have been fortunate over the years to have worked for people that had good character and lived by high ethical standards. At the same time, I have worked with and for people that only care about their own vague agendas, that speak mostly gibberish (technobabble), and refuse to acknowledge the accomplishments of others. I call these people, "VUGs". VUG is an acronym for Vague, Unclear, and Gibberish- speaking.

I'm sure you know a few VUGs. They come to meetings, (they love e-mail) and try to prove how smart they are by using "industry" jargon, corporate gibberish-speak, and what has been referred to as "technobabble". They are generally laid back, often personable, will complement you to your face, and put you down behind your back. They are insecure, generally soft-spoken, power hungry, yet calm in the face of crisis. They blame others, never apologize, and love recognition. When they do try to recognize others, it is usually out of guilt or a sense of corporate duty.

VUGs like unclear (immeasurable) strategies and objectives. They ensure that they can't personally be held accountable because they speak in vague terms and future perfect scenarios. Timeframes usually aren't important to VUGs. In fact, they will never state a definitive deadline for anything that can come back to bite them. They love to delegate, are unwilling to debate, and are usually unable to deal effectively with others because of a lack of self-confidence or guilt from the way they have treated others.

VUGs speak in VUGlish, a language all their own. When VUGs speak what they say rarely has a connection to organizational strategy, is peppered with gibberish, or is a long-winded rambling of disconnected thoughts and ideas linked to immeasurable goals.

So what does all this mean? For the project manager, having a VUG for a project sponsor, as your manager, or as one of your stakeholders is inevitable. How we handle them will help determine how successful we are when managing our project.

As project managers we have to de-VUG our projects. We de-VUG our projects by ensuring that language in our scope documents, project plans, and other project documentation is:

Specific and Clear

Linked to Organizational or Departmental Strategy

Is Written in Plain Language

Is Measurable

Has Definitive Dates (deadlines) for all Milestones and Deliverables

If you are ignorant of the VUGs that can influence your project, your projects could get VUGly!

What do you think? Do you agree, or disagree? Do you know a VUG?

Leave me a comment or e-mail me.

I hereby lame claim to inventing the following words and phrases:

VUG, VUGlish, de-VUG, VUGly, VUGger, VUGliness, VUGinator, deVUGify, Coyote VUGly, VUGstard, VUGnation, StarVUGs, iVUG, VUGoogle

Anybody else have more VUGisms?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

VicPic in California
Wow, you really nailed it when you described some of the managers I have worked for... Thanks for the insight!