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I get these things emailed to me occasionally, as I'm sure others of you do, and I thought this snippet was particularly interesting.

Written by Jon Huntress...

----------- Tales From the Front: The Project Managers

During the San Francisco SPG conference in September, I talked to as many project managers as I could. I got the impression that while year 2000 project managers for big companies were mostly male, for smaller companies and government, women were in the majority. But I couldn't confirm this. Maybe only women project managers attend the conferences. This would be in keeping, since by attending a conference you are by definition seeking directions, and everyone knows men don't do that very well.

There are some good reasons not to take a year 2000 project manager position. For one, you will be in charge of an enterprise-wide project, but without enterprise-wide authority. Also, you may have a good idea of how far your company needs to go and how difficult it will be for you to tell management what they have to spend. Or you could be getting close to retirement or you just might not feel good about running a project that has so many loose ends and deliverables.

Many see a Y2K project manager position as a short-term, no-thanks, no-career-benefit position. Several male project managers told me they didn't want to accept the job because they didn't see it as career enhancing and, worse, if anything really went South they would get blamed. A woman told me there is a "sacrificial lamb" role for women in the industry. If there is a "death march" or problem-plagued project, they will try to set up some woman eager to prove herself and, when it fails, they can say it was because a woman was in charge. She told me of instances where she had seen some men allow their departments to fail before they would follow a woman. She had personal experience with this problem. When she gave out the year 2000 requirements, she was accused of inventing these new regulations for her own purposes.

The women I talked to saw the job as an opportunity, and in most instances an increase in pay, even though their male counterparts generally make much more. Several of them told me that a man had refused to take the job before it had been given to them. Most of the women I talked to did not have a clear idea of the scope of the job when they accepted it. Some were told they didn't have a choice. It was announced at the conference that a PM for a fortune 500 company had just signed for over a million a year, but some of the project managers were running their projects with no increase in salary.

Whatever the reasons, there are a large number of female year 2000 project managers out there and, from what I can see, this is very positive. They are better at it and they are finishing their projects faster and in many cases under budget.

Many of them come from a non-IT background. Also, women are often better-organized and more detail-oriented than men. One consultant (female) told me that women were naturally better planners because they always had to do long-term planning for their families. And this does seem to be true in most of the situations I have seen. Now don't get upset at me because of the stereotyping here. I know there must be men who are very neat and orderly (although I don't personally know any). I'm not talking about nice, tight code here. I'm talking about how neat they keep their bathrooms.

The typical year 2000 project is a hydra-headed nightmare demanding master prioritizing and scheduling skills, plus the ability to get other people to rise to a level of professional organization and cooperation they have not been used to, with less money to spend then needed, all with an ever-shrinking time budget. One woman told me that when she moved, she always left an apartment cleaner than it was when she moved in. That is a good interview question for year 2000 project managers.

------------- That's all. Make of it what you will...

-- pshannon (, December 15, 1998


And on the lighter side, HERE'S another piece of drivel from the New York Times OP-ED Page. I mean really, they print this trash? They are doing worse than nothing. At least it's mildly amusing...

(reprinted without permission, you need to register to get to the site, so I just copied and pasted)


Why Wait for the Y2K Problem?


We have been so preoccupied with the Year 2000 Problem that we have all but ignored the Year 1999 Problem -- at our peril, experts say.

Simply put, the Year 1999 Problem is this: In 1999, we will experience a sudden, frightening surge in the number of articles printed about the Year 2000 Problem. Some of these articles will suggest that computers will fail to recognize the number 2000, putting a stranglehold on global communication. Other articles will assert that computers will in fact recognize the number 2000, since they deal with numbers all day and have a pretty good idea what they look like.

All of these articles, however, will have one thing in common: they will be very boring. Unless we can find a way to make the Year 2000 Problem a much more interesting topic, the authorities fear, 1999 threatens to be the most annoying year ever.

Even if that problem is somehow fixed -- and let us all hope that it will be -- there is ample evidence to suggest that 1999 will still be an unspeakable endurance test. While many have expressed concern that the year 2000 will bring with it a deluge of tedious millennium-themed books, records and calendars, experts have now moved up that timetable: the year 2000 is when those items will be remaindered.

In 1999, it will be impossible to enter a Barnes & Noble without being assaulted by jacket copy that reads, "Four members of the Yale Class of 1975 -- a dreamer, a cynic, a saint and a sinner -- find their paths crossing once again . . . on the brink of the millennium."

While it is possible to avoid reading -- and most Americans do -- experts are concerned about another, more intractable problem for which there is no known solution: the expected upswing in use of the song "(Party Like It's) 1999," by the artist formerly known as Prince. The once catchy dance track will become unbearably ubiquitous, and will inevitably be co-opted by do-gooder types to lame effect. ("Come and party like it's 1999 -- for world literacy!")

The resurgence of this song will bring with it another, equally serious problem, experts warn -- a resurgence of jokes in the form of, "the Something Formerly Known as Something," making late-night comedy monologues unsafe for the balance of the year.

Finally, the Year 1999 Problem will manifest itself in alphanumeric overload: because of the endless use of Y2K as shorthand for the Year 2000, every other serious worldwide problem will be given a cute abbreviation.

Global warming will be called 2HOT4U, Saddam Hussein will be TROUBLE/ 24-7, and asteroids plummeting toward the earth will be O-NO-O-NOOO- AAIII-EEEE.

It would be tempting to stick our heads in the sand and say that the Year 1999 Problem will not affect us, but experts warn against such complacency. Here is just one of the "doomsday scenarios" these authorities have described to rouse us to action:

Time: Jan. 1, 1999. Place: A local television news studio. Two anchors, BEN and JAN, trade quips.

BEN: So, Jan, I heard you partied like it was 1999 last night.

JAN: I'll say -- and I'm afraid I enjoyed myself a little more than I should.

BEN: Oh, the old 2MUCH4U problem!

JAN: Well, moving on to tomorrow's forecast, here's the Weatherman Formerly Known as Ryan Larsen. How's the millennium treating you, Ryan?

RYAN: Well, this week it's going to be snowing like it's 1999. . . .

Given such gloomy predictions, one might ask, who is looking forward to 1999? With the exception of Barbara Feldon, whose portrayal of Agent 99 on "Get Smart" may, experts say, entitle her to a modest career resurgence, perhaps no one.

But there may be a silver lining in all of this. True, 1999 will be a miserable year for magazines, newspapers, books, radio and television. But on Jan. 1, 2000, computers will fail to recognize the number 2000, putting a stranglehold on global communication. And not a moment too soon.

Andy Borowitz co-produced the movie "Pleasantville."


-- pshannon (, December 15, 1998.

"1999 will still be an unspeakable endurance test."

Yes. We'll all have to become very good at sifting through the obsfucation (sp?) and overt denial while trying to flag the covert actions.


-- Diane J. Squire (, December 15, 1998.

Reference the NY Times' Borowitz: people who write screenplays fro movies whose lame endings irritate, bother, and generally annoy the audience obviously lack critical thinking skills, if not writing ability in general. They therefore should not be allowed to comment on or analyze significant events of any kind.

-- Mac (, December 15, 1998.

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