Are you playing #Project Battleship??? #pmot #baot #agile

I was talking in our co-located room last week on a particularly frustrating day to a co-worker. I enjoy talking to Hanaa as she has an adept analytical mind, great technical skills, and a great sense of humour. A rare find indeed.

Anyway, I was talking about my frustration where some discussions and emails exchanges didn’t seem to be moving forward to solving issues. They seemed to be just playing hot potato with who currently owned the issue. This finally came to a head when I tried to schedule a quick discussion to try to solve an issue and one person just replied back that they couldn’t make that time. I expressed my frustration at the lack explanation or options provided by the person. It was just stated they couldn’t make it, and it seemed it was back in my court.

Hanaa then said “Yea, that can be frustrating – this isn’t battleship”


Project Battleship

What a great analogy. Or metaphor? I can never keep those two straight.

Anyway, what a great image to keep in mind on projects. I think we are all guilty sometimes on focusing on just getting the issue off our plate rather than ensuring our actions are moving closer to solving a problem. I’ve kept this image in my mind ever since. I use it to guide me with all my actions. Are my actions showing commitment to moving closer to solving problems? Or am I just getting the issue of my plate and not moving it closer to resolution?

The image reminded me that we must always focus on two-way dialogue instead of the sometimes easier one-way email communication. It can be so easy to respond to an email with another email that doesn’t help to solve the problem or move closer to solving the problem. In many instances, additional replies to emails usually move the team away from a solution rather than towards it.


Do you sometime fall into playing Project Battleship? As team mates we must always ensure our actions move the project forward and not backward or standing still.

Focused, bi-directional communication is the only way to ensure the project is successful. Hiding behind our screens and issuing one directional commands or questions in email are an easy trap to fall into.

Author: Terry Bunio

Terry Bunio is passionate about his work as the Manager of the Project Management Office at the University of Manitoba. Terry oversees the governance on Information Technology projects to make sure the most important projects are being worked on in a consistent and effective way. Terry also provides leadership on the customized Project Methodology that is followed. The Project Methodology is a equal mix of Prince2, Agile, Traditional, and Business Value. Terry strives to bring Brutal Visibility, Eliminating Information islands, Right Sizing Documentation, Promoting Collaboration and Role-Based Non-Consensus, and short Feedback Loops to Minimize Inventory to the Agile Project Management Office. As a fan of pragmatic Agile, Terry always tries to determine if we can deliver value as soon as possible through iterations. As a practical Project Manager, Terry is known to challenge assumptions and strive to strike the balance between the theoretical and real world approaches for both Traditional and Agile approaches. Terry is a fan of AWE (Agile With Estimates), the Green Bay Packers, Winnipeg Jets, and asking why?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.