Anti-Spin Management Checklist

Posted by Kevin Brady on Tue 27th June 2006 at 03:02 AM, Filed in Free Check Lists

Click to download >> Anti-Spin Management Checklist

With reference to Posts like Get Sacking - Path To Project Success


It is clear that many failed or failing IT projects /programmes of work are victims of often elaborate spin management schemes :-

Selling a failed project as a success compensating for lack of delivery by turning up part of the system (rarely enough to justify the original business case) and then offering a phased release plan for the remaining functionality overtime. The Project /Programme Managers hope that other competing IT project priorities will overtake the phased development and eventually the project will be forgotten in a cloud of “FOG”. This process of “spin” and “palming off” is very very very common, and is often universally referred to as a “Political Project /Programme Delivery”.

Making sure no easily accessible project /programme transparency ever exists i.e risk /issues logs, updated project plans, quality checks, signed off requirements etc. These types of projects /programmes (audited many in the past) can be identified in one simple way:-

BY THE AMOUNT OF EMAIL, that flows in and out of the manager’s email exchange.

I often refer to these kind of IT Projects /Programmes of work as “Email Projects” because all (if any exists) of the management process is confined to email. This means that when things start to go wrong as they do, it is impossible to tell what was /was not agreed. A clever spin manager can use this “FOG” to redesign what the clients orginal expections were in the beginning. This is often made easier when business people leave the project or programme of work to move divisions or change jobs. I have seen many walking wounded IT systems “palmed off” in this way.

Why use Spin Management?

It can artificially extend the life of an already doomed project – Contract project /programme managers and external “money machine” Management Consultants and Software Houses are the worst offenders in this category. All these interested parties want fees ranging from £400 to £1,500 + per day /per person rolling in. In the case of the latter anything less is simply not “Growing the Market”.

The Project /Programme Management team lack the confidence /ability to confront the business sponsors with the hard realities of the situation. Project /Programme Managers often lack the experience /Gravitas and process knowledge necessary to run a project /programme of work through transparency. Running a project or programme of work based on transparency as a means of tying in your business sponsors and building strong managerial control is often beyond the energy and skill capabilities of most project managers I meet. In these situations, it is often easier to go home on time and concentrate on fair weather reporting (quick & simple). People ask fewer questions if you keep things positive until the CRUNCH COMES.

Avoid being threatened. As in the case of the “Get Sacking - Path to Project Success?” very often able and capable Project /Programme Managers running transparent projects /programmes of work bring bad news to “Bull Dog” business sponsors. Instead of collaboration and team work to work round the problem, the “Bull Dog /s” turn nasty and show their teeth. It is very clear either indirectly or directly that delay, technical infeasibility, bad test results will no longer be acceptable statements to make. All solutions involving more money /more time or less scope are off the agenda. Fix it or you’re out is the message!!!! Under these circumstances, the spin machine is jump started into action and the Jedi Project Management team join the dark-side in one hard but short jump. “Tell them what they want hear is the only game in town”.

Avoid Litigation. If you keep the transparency to a minimum and maximise the “FOG” it can be almost impossible for a client to engage in litigation against a Software House or Management Consultancy. If the email is of sufficient volume and the recording of facts and lack of documentation sign-off is minimal then it is impossible to identify who is at fault. Lawyers love these kind of cases because they can generate lots and lots of lovely fees trying to identify and locate these elusive facts.

If you are a CIO, COO, CTO, IT Director, Programme or Project Manager and want to ensure REAL delivery success then you need make sure your project does not become a failed “Spin Project” by using the attached Spin Management Checklist. I have successfully implemented the points listed on this checklist on many of my own projects /programmes of work. This has greatly increased the likelihood of a successful project /programme delivery.


© Copyright 2009 Clarety Limited. All Rights Reserved

This entry has been viewed 6368 times.


This article is great, while I was reading it and thinking to my environment it was impossible not to laught smile

Posted by Silvio  on Wed 27th August 2008 at 02:14 PM | #

I was looking forward to downloading and learning more about your Anti-Spin checklist but the download link was BROKEN!  are you still updating this wonderful site?

Posted by Dr. B  on Tue 16th December 2008 at 11:33 AM | #

You can find the checklist and other documents by pointing your browser to this directory:
  Then, search for “Spin” (I forgot the exact filename).

Posted by Brett  on Tue 30th December 2008 at 10:28 PM | #

Fixed the link ! Sorry for all the trouble and a big thanks to Brett

Posted by Kevin Brady  on Tue 6th January 2009 at 12:30 AM | #


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