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The Baby Gorilla Project Scenario

The Baby Gorilla Project Management Scenario

Imagine you are a powerful, 7ft tall boxer (yes, you too, ladies) and you stride to the ring full of confidence that you are just too big and strong to lose against any opponent you could come up against. You are complacent and not concentrating on your devised strategy and the skills you should employ in the ring. The odds may be in your favour, but things can still go wrong. Remember what that guy David did to Goliath, what Buster Douglas did to Iron Mike, what Rocky did to Ivan Drago....

Baby gorillas are small projects that are initially deemed straightforward, even easy, to deliver. What happens in this case is that the lack of respect for each projects full scope and proper processes (due to the expected easy ride to delivery) causes a lack of attention to detail and scoping and the baby gorilla grows into a powerful adult project that overpowers the project manager.
How to spot one
Baby gorillas are projects that are deemed small and straightforward, and it is assumed that enough information is known of what needs to be done (the full requirements and delivery specifications) to get the project delivered, but these details are either not gathered, defined and approved, and (usually) not enough time is given for the delivery. Baby gorillas tend to be media campaign, HTML newsletter, microsite, site/page update-style projects.
What happens with baby gorillas?
Baby gorillas are projects that seem harmless but then end up causing a lot of problems because is usually more complex than anticipated, the budget is insufficient, the necessary people needed to complete the project will not be available as it had not been planned that they were required and so on.

It’s because the scope and resultant impact and issues with the seemingly easy project are not anticipated that they can cause such a mess.
Your baby gorilla action plan
All the Gorilla Theory project scenario solutions are supported by a checklist mechanism. The checklist mechanism supports the core principles of:
  • Status vigilence
  • Efficient communications
  • Proactive status awareness
  • The discipline required to maintain all the above
1) To gather ALL the information you have on the task(s) that need to be done, and assign contact names to every piece of information you have received on the project (you should always go back to the source of information for any clarification).

2) As soon as possible, have a meeting with the senior management and the lead client account manager for the project to get an absolute understanding of what is believed to be the deliverable(s) and what are the knowledge gaps.

3) Once the knowledge gaps are identified, nothing else should happen until the project is correctly scoped and approved internally and by the client (YES, this will take time, but you simply have to know exactly what needs to be delivered).

4) Advise a realistic delivery schedule based on the full scope as you now understand it and get internal and client buy-in for the realistic delivery date (if the due date is written in stone you need senior approval for extra resources to get the job done within the time allowed)

5) Manage the delivery well - watch over each and every milestone and ensure all tasks are being done on time.

We have tailored the Gorilla Theory checklists for each of the three problem scenarios. You can buy the project checklist pack or the full checklist pack: click here >

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