People try to put us down…talking about regeneration…

Posted: August 27, 2014 in Uncategorized


One of the perks of my job is I get to learn about fantastic organisations and people doing amazing things.

I also get to read up on amazing leaders in fields like technology; psychology; behavioural economics and more.  Once such is Patrick Lencioni.  A man I have met, and who signed me a book – which he had to fetch from his hotel in Dublin where I “bumped” into him.   Anyway, so I met him through his UK rep picking a tweet of mine that I was lecturing at Dublin City University.  Oh the power of social media.


So Pat (as he insisted I call him – oh the familiarity I now felt about him) shares his insight and wisdom using theories, models and constructs he has put together following his research.  Which is often based on real-life application and results.  He then shares his work with others through books in fable format.  Constructed around fictional characters and events, pretend companies and challenges, Pat shows us what goes on in everyday TradCo Ltd and how he has helped people and their companies move on and improve.

I suspect Pat gets paid a lot.  His books like “3 Signs of a Miserable Job” and “5 Dysfunctions of a Team” are a bit iconic to some and “meh” to others.  He is very readable though.  Part insight “a – ha” moments and usable models; and part because he puts his books into a fable format.

So here’s my tale – about a band of people who worked in the same area but not necessarily the same company.  Who came together in some form of coalition and then who tore it apart (almost) because of attitudes.  It is actually a tale about human spirit, endeavour and overcoming arrogance and anger in favour of togetherness and belief.

It starts with a few people and a good idea…

Simon started this whole thing.  He and Raj, Jonah and Phil.  Angela, Malcolm and Julia came on shortly afterwards.  It was really underground,  It was unconventional and no-one in their industry (project management) had done this.  Come together in unison to change their profession through work they did both in their companies, in independent practice, in education and in PR for their profession.  They’d had enough of pretenders to their throne.  Of amateur jocks screwing up projects left right and centre that they took some control. The Institutes were not helping the cause – being too distracted by conferences, glossy journals and raking it in through training courses,

They had come up with different ways to “do” project management (this was around the time Scrum became popular) and was similar to that and incorporated other practices from business especially around scenarios and simulation methods.  Anyway it was less a product and more a way of “doing” Projects IF you were “in the know!”

The people involved then.

Simon was a rising star.  A Project Manager in Telecomms In Berkshire in the 1990s he had risen to take up a very senior post in a large company (global) and was racking up some successes.  So he thought he would get something going to reinvigorate other rebellious but successful sorts in his industry.  And he could also size up his competition that way.  Though he never confirmed that to anyone except Jonah his most trusted sidekick (who was just leaving a PAC-ASIA role and coming back to Hampshire).  Simon and Jonah were funny, charismatic and had good track records.  They started blogging, making waves at conferences and started their own social media channel for PMs.  It was a nice underground movement and it then got noticed. 7 become 20 became a couple of hundred and even some Irish, Canadian, Aussie and Dutch PMs joined in.  Before anyone noticed it was going global.

That’s when the fun started.  Raj dabbled in projects in HR and PR in the US, Phil became a bona fide Journalist when a PM magazine poached him from his UK Government post.  Days were good but people were beginning to either drift apart, in fight or deny others could get “involved” like they were.  What started as a movement to change Projects for good, became an elite club for certain types of people.

Malcolm tried to hold it together but Angela and Julia were already disenchanted and fractures appeared.  Gino joined – a newly transferred PM from FIAT now working for Mini in Oxford – and his strength of personality forged some new connections.  Simon, meanwhile, was getting to fly across to Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Poland to talk up his take on Project Management.  He even built an app through a developer friend of his.

What had started as a group of enthusiasts whose desire to change Project Management fell apart through egos, disinterest, infighting, arrogance and no eye on the future blood needed to sustain a charge at a lame profession struggling to keep up with relevant methods and models.

Self interest took over as the jet setting replaced the Reading Pub meetings.

The dreaded “I’m so ahead of everyone else” delusion turned people away who were just discovering this new form of Project Management and way of delivering work.

But Malcolm and Julia were not so deterred.  Raj now had a thriving US faction of PMs so they turned their attention to new PMs; graduates; freelancers; and found a mass of people just discovering Scrum and Agile.  They took over the social channel and it had a second lease of life.  Except this time it was about the future, not bemoaning the past and current.  It seemed to have an injection of positive psychology and belief from (perhaps) Malcolm and Julia taking a lead role.

Phil though, slagged it off a little through his (now online) magazine; Simon was known to declare it was “all his” and that what was there now was a pale, amateur version of the rebel yell he’d created and Raj didn’t even respond to emails anymore.

Angela had enough and left Julia and Malcolm to it.  So Gino was now back in Italy with Maserati but this new crop of PMs weren’t about to let it falter through the new/old guard taking it over.  No they put on events; published articles; created a Saturday conference every quarter using member premises; and the previous 230 members ballooned to over 2000.  On board now were the South Africans, the Emirates States and India.

Simon still travels; to Russia (a lot); Latvia, Saudi and Singapore.  Raj was last seen in San Diego.  Phil lost his job through a twitter spat with a Minister and Angela lives in Loire Valley and is off Projects for life.

The moral of this fable?


Nothing lasts for ever. No-ones an expert.  It’s not about you it’s about IT.  Fresh insight; new blood; rolling tenures; rotating stewards; self-organisation.  All property is theft.  We own nothing.  We only rent it.  If a “group” is good enough it will outlast its founders and next wave.  Let it happen.  Don’t be bitter.  Create your own faction if you like.

This association of Project Managers is still thriving somewhere.  I was told the tale by Angela, now well over it and that’s not her real name either.  Was she bitter?  A little.  Did she enjoy it whilst it lasted?  A lot.  Would she do it again?  No way.  Although she has just set up a small group of UK folks in France who love real ale.  Once a huddle creator always a huddle creator eh?  She is though, she said to me over the Skype call we had – regenerated.  I wryly smiled as I told her I was blogging this.  “Change the names she said” some people might follow you.  So I did. But I don’t think they do follow me.

So this is not a patch on Pat but I enjoyed hearing about it and hope you did reading about it.


doctor-who-peter-capaldiGratuitous Scooter Picture courtesy of Quadrophenia UK;
Dr Who courtesy of;
Patrick Lencioni –

  1. Colin Ellis says:

    Great blog on so many levels for me Perry as I’m in that period of regeneration myself. Extra marks of course for the scooter pic and Who lyrics 🙂

    • perrytimms says:

      Smashing mate. Glad it chimed. This group was a pre-social media clan that really did pioneering stuff. Except they missed the point on regeneration. Good luck with yours my friend. Appreciate the comments.

  2. foxhumanresources says:

    Sometimes its the energy levels that begin to fade, sometimes its Darth Real Life that takes you a different path, but one key thing I have noticed is that culture is always vitally important and if the ethos of such groups maintains its vision then others will come along, be inspired and pick up the baton. I spent 4 long (but rewarding) years gathering people from all corners of the UK back in 2005 to form a volunteer fundraising group which went from just me to now 131 people and is now recognised by Lucasfilm and Disney and invited to their UK PR events, Collectively we have raised thousands of £ for charities and I no longer manage the group, but have a back seat and act in an advisory capacity when needed from my seat in the Old Folks Home. The Force is strong with that group I promise you. 😉

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