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Creep and Bureaucracy

I worked on hundreds of projects during my corporate days as a manager and engineer. All projects are supposed to be defined and spelled out during the validation (beginning) portion of the project. If only this was remotely true. Every project I worked on had what I called “mission creep” or “scope creep” or “specification creep”. What that means is that the mission, scope, and specification of the project are changing and constantly in flux. Yes, there needs to be some flexibility to allow for some adjustments. However, many of the “creep” changes can be dramatic and in most cases increased the complexity of the project. Thus, every project I worked on was never done on time and it always exceeded the projected costs. As our marketing think tank continuously changed the scope and complexity of the project, all carefully crafted risk mitigation plans became obsolete. Thus, as the things went wrong (and something always goes wrong) on projects there were no pertinent risk mitigation plans to fix the problems in a timely matter. On average, projects lasted two to three times their initial validation length and cost anywhere from two to three times more than initial projections. Thus, creep is a bad thing because it creates a moving target that delays and increases project cost.

 

The other alarming thing that I witnessed during my corporate days was increased bureaucracy. During my 21 years in the industry it became harder and harder to get my job done. In essence, I worked on a team with 5 to 7 individuals chartered with developing a new product. Meanwhile there are about 10 organizations within company placing barriers, redundancy, and roadblocks in the way making it harder for us to complete our job. These groups consisted of program management, human resources, several manufacturing sites, quality assurance, security, yield improvement, lab managers, senior management, finance, and so forth. Each group required an individual weekly status meeting covering mostly redundant issues. Essentially, the normal time required to finish a project doubled over my tenure due solely to bureaucracy. It was interesting to note that many of the smaller companies we purchased did not have the same level of bureaucracy. Thus, the larger the corporation the larger the bureaucracy is. That is why our federal government is loaded with bureaucracy because it is essentially the largest corporation in our country.

 

So what does creep and bureaucracy have to do with politics and the current Obama administration? Let’s not forget that the Obama administration is now the owner of many private sector businesses such as financial giant AIG and automotive companies Chrysler and GM. We have already seen the Obama administration generate “creep” policies that we conservatives like to call “regulation”.  Obama says he does not want his administration to be in the financial or automotive business. That is bunch of bologna! He loves this situation because he can enact and enforce regulation “creep”. Obama has already administered new CAFÉ standards on the automotive industry. Yes, while the car companies go through bankruptcy, they must also change their complete infrastructure to adhere to tougher standards. A wise leader would not inflict such tough standards on an industry that is struggling and in peril. The time to add tougher standards and creep (if at all) is when a company is stable and has a strong financial standing.

 

I predict Obama will use this “power grab” into the private sector to inflict further regulation “creep” on auto and financial industries. That is why financial institutions are eager to pay back TARP funds. They have already seen Obama administer regulation “creep” such as salary and bonus restrictions. The Obama administration regulation “creep” is not any different than the corporate “creep” I experienced. They will continue to use their arrogance and bureaucratic ways to put up roadblocks, barriers, and regulation “creep” to inhibit time and cost efficiency in the private sector. In essence, these government run businesses will become less effective and destined to fail without a continued influx of bailouts.

 

My Blog: http://patrickbohan.blogtownhall.com/ (The Theory of Mediocrity)

My Book: Is America Dying? (Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com)

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