Important is not (necessarily) big

Jason Smith
Jason Smith | 11 January 2011

I sat through a thoroughly depressing presentation last week by a senior Government programme manager. He started, as is often the way, by explaining just how important he was – how many people he controlled, how massive his budget was and how his utterly colossal job title required an A4 sized business card.

He then went on to explain how his department was doing Agile. After 5 minutes, it became obvious that he not only didn’t understand anything about Agile, but that the programme process he’d constructed was as big a waterfall as Niagara. This will be the subject of a later blog post. However, the overwhelming message I took away from him was that he was solving an important problem and that he could not be swayed from the belief that important problems need big solutions. With big teams, big budgets, big specifications and big job titles. The idea that important problems may not be fully understood, or that an incremental approach providing some initial simple tools or process changes may pay massive dividends never occurred to him.

Big society may be better served by smaller Government making small (but important) improvements.