Idiot proof

I am a part of a big project at work. It is a complex endeavour with several specialists involved, affecting multiple process with impact on several sites. For the last six months we have been all working really hard on preparing the necessary requirement documentation for the supplier by running series of different workshops, doing interviews, reviewing and re-reviewing every sentence, every requirement and every priority to make sure that we keep a high level of delivery. The grammar, syntax and style of the document is checked with several references to make sure we are on top when it comes to English. We run on tight schedule and everyone involved knows exactly what and when shall be delivered. Responsibilities are clearly divided to ensure that the work goes as smoothly as possible. Only one person is allowed to edit the specification to avoid issues and errors. Today the major requirement specification should have been completed and sent for final review.

Queue the sponsor/BPM who decides to submit his second opinion on the specification, where he rewrites half of it in bad English, unclear text and removes parts of the vital information. This comes in this morning, six hours before the deadline for final review.

There is no possibility to discuss the changes without breaking the deadline. The changes are so unclear they just have to be scrapped. And we thought we made the work idiot proof by having an owner of the document and doing all reviews and checks and controls in time…

The only thing you can do at this point is to think of the quote from Ron Burns:

“You can’t make anything idiot proof because idiots are so ingenious.”


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