The Car Park…

It was Tuesday on planning week, Justine’s fifth week leading the new taskforce. Wendy from the PMO had just arrived to help Justine, Kathy and Mark. She had just listed some questions on the whiteboard.

“Who is involved?” Justine said, “that is a big question. There are lots of people, both from within the department and outside it. But the scary part is, I don’t think we even know”. “No worries” replied Wendy, “lets just draw up what we can, and by the sound of it we’ll need a car park”.

By lunchtime another three sheets of butchers paper were full of coloured bubbles. But Justine could already see a picture of her stakeholders starting to emerge. This is good, I’ve only ever carried this around in my head for the last three weeks.

That afternoon Wendy took the group through the question of why the taskforce existed. It seemed simple enough at first, but after examining the paper that had gone to the Minister some things were clear, but others weren’t.

“That’s what the car park is for” Wendy said, bringing quizzical looks from everyone else. “The car park is for the things you know you don’t know. You’ll need to tackle them, but not now. All we need to do in planning is decide when we’ll tackle them.”

“I love it” said Justine. Kathy and Mark nodded in agreement. Wendy clearly knew her stuff.

Wednesday was spent discussing what would exist when the taskforce was finished, and Thursday morning on why Justine wanted to approach the work in a broad sense. The car park grew.

As they broke for lunch on Thursday, Wendy said “okay, we’re going to take a different tack this afternoon and tomorrow”. We’ve done all we can for now on the “who, why, what and how”, now we need to figure out when we’re going to do the planning.

Justine felt bemused, but she managed to smile and hide her feelings. She caught Kathy and Mark’s eye as they stood in the lift together, and it was clear they were all thinking the same thing: we thought this was planning week; this has been good, but we need to start doing.

Wendy smiled inside. She knew exactly what they were thinking.

To be continued…