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1:You're involved in a rescue of a project or venture. In other words, it's all gone horribly wrong and you've been called in to clean up the mess. You discover there is a plan—and the plan is actually current (i.e., it has been recently updated). The plan has a well-defined goal, which has stayed relatively stable, and what looks like a comprehensive list of jobs (sequence of events). In looking at the plan you find that many of the jobs—particularly those that were meant to finish a long time ago—have phrases like “New hire,” “TBD,” and “A N Other” against them (i.e., generic names rather than real people's names).
  1. Is this the main reason why the venture went wrong?

  2. Is it something else?

  3. Is it too soon to say—must you go and gather more information about the status of the project?

  4. Is it nothing to do with the project, but rather with technical issues involved in the venture?

A1: (a) 5 points

If the goal was stable (Principle 2) and the sequence of events was well thought out (Principle 3), then you can depend on it. Stands to reason, doesn't it? If things were meant to be done and they weren't, then of course, it's going to go wrong.

(b) 2 points

There might be other considerations, but I think you'll find that with a good goal and a good sequence of events, this is almost certainly the prime contributor.

(c) 1 point

You can go gather more data, but I'd be surprised if it materially changed your initial findings.

(d) 1 point

Again, it's a possibility, but in my experience, it is rarely the cause of the problem if the other conditions that I've described are present.

2:John shows up from central casting to work for you. He says he's available “full time.” If this is true (i.e., if he genuinely has no other things to work on), and you discount vacation and holidays, how many real days of his time are you getting in a working week?
  1. 3.75 days

  2. Closer to (but greater than) 4 days

  3. 2.5 days

  4. Nearly 5 days

A2: (a) 5 points

It could well be—especially if his time management isn't the tightest.

(b) 5 points

This is the best you're going to get. With the best time management in the world, he's going to lose more than an hour a day.

(c) 5 points

You might argue—validly—that it depends on John.

(d) 0 points

Definitely not.

3:You're ready to begin a new venture with the merry band of brothers and sisters that you've either chosen, inherited, or otherwise acquired. Of the following, which is most likely to sink your venture?
  1. Poor salaries.

  2. Poor working conditions.

  3. Not playing to people's strengths.

  4. Poor management by you.

A3: (a) 1 point

Most likely? It won't help, but I don't think so.

(b) 0 points

Not at all.

(c) 5 points

Yes. Play to people's weakness and it'll go down the tubes faster than you can say “human resources issue.”

(d) 3 points

It's not most likely, but it's a close second to (c).



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