The link between pork roast and project management

By December 30, 2012blog

Someone told me this story a few years ago.

A 12 year old girl was helping her mom cook for new year’s eve. They were preparing a pork roast. The mother started with removing an inch thick slice from the roast before she placed it in the cooking pot.


“Why do you slice a piece of the roast?” the girl asked. “Oh? I don’t know,” the mother answered. “Your grandmother always sliced of a piece, so I always do the same.”

As the girl was eager to know why the removal of that slice was so important, she went to visit her grandmother. But she didn’t find an answer. “You wonder why I always removed the slice from my pork roast? I don’t really have a clue. I learned the recipe from my own mother. You should check with her!”

So the girl went to the retirement home where here great-grandmother lived. The answer was rather astonishing: “You want to know why I used to remove a slice from my pork roast? The answer is easy. I didn’t have a cooking pot large enough for a pork roast, so I had to slice it off, otherwise the roast wouldn’t fit into the pot.”

What does this have to do with project management?

People tend to use project methodologies because of the wrong reasons. Because the others always use them, because it’s part of the company’s culture, because they don’t know there is another way to do things, because it has always been this way,… Without knowing the real reason why.

Always ask yourself the question if the way you are managing a project is not influenced by old habits or laziness. Don’t be afraid to try new ways of working.