How to Deliver Perfect Projects

This is what happens to projects in the real world! Don't get caught out!

This is what happens to projects in the real world! Don’t get caught out!


1] Copying your competitor:

Find a product that your competitors are selling and then do the same. Copying is the sincerest form of flattery, plus as they are likely to be better than you, the fact they are doing it means it has got to be a good idea

2] From any management book:

Just filter the ideas from a bestseller like ‘13 Habits of Smug Know Alls’ to fit your company profile plus if it goes pear shaped then you can always say Conglomerate Plc did this successfully in 1995 and it was someone else’s fault that it didn’t work here.

3] The standard ‘can’t fail to impress’ projects list:

a] Cost reduction by downsizing the work force

b] Departmental reorganisation

c] Firing the existing provider of an outsourced function and hiring another similar company.


The Project Manager:

Project Managers organise stuff, like meetings, actions and risk registers. Be nice to the PM, because you don’t want any actions assigned to you. The Project Manager is ideally a contractor so can be blamed and then fired if things are not going well.

The Programme Manager:

They provide progress and status reports plus presentations. Can also be wheeled in front of management to explain what is happening, saving you the time finding out. Also need to be kept on-side, as the presentations they create will be used by you to justify your job.

A Deputy:

They take notes and tell your peers and other stakeholders what to do and then hound them, whilst you take on the onerous task of handing out the plaudits and any good news.

The Expert:

The only person on the project team that knows what they are doing and also has the detail, they are usually passionate and incomprehensible but vital or you’ll deliver a chocolate kettle – lovely but useless.

The Stakeholders:

Usually a couple of appropriate Middle Managers. Their teams are supporting the project or delivering parts of it. They don’t want to be there as this is extra work for no benefit to them. Don’t make eye contact or you’ll get excuses.

 A P.A.:

Fierce ones round everyone up by reorganising their diaries for you. Friendly ones bring you buns and can get you out of meetings when you need to exit fast.


These are perfect storms of overlaps and infighting. This is good as you can use the teams’ antagonism towards each other to ensure they don’t bother you with any trivia or work and by showing favouritism to individuals to ensure that they suck up to you and do your bidding rather than the teams

 Briefing the team:

In a nutshell you need to communicate that it’s a key deliverable for the board, you’re only interested in the big picture so you don’t want problems only solutions and as a motivator add that if it doesn’t come together on time and on budget they are all fired, sorry downsized.


Demand monthly updates, or weekly if you think you can get away with it, as a full blown, chart ridden, metric heavy presentation. These should be 20 or 30 slides and needs a one page executive summary of the important bits, as you won’t have time to read the rest.

Report back to the board:

This should be monthly and saying how well its going. Don’t take anything but the summary to the meeting or some clever clog is going to start questioning the data. If asked to provide more detail, simply say you will take an action to get back to them on that and then castigate your team for not including the answer in the summary. Also remember to never get back to a questioner with an answer they don’t want. Better not to get back to them at all, if possible, as it will only encourage further questions.


These are tasks that need to be completed before the next project meeting. Think Bubonic plague here. Keep away from Actions and anyone who might give you one. To stretch this tenuous metaphor further, if you are a carrier then feel free to infect others.

Steering boards:

An unfortunate fact of life is that things don’t always go to plan and because you are an MCA you don’t have a Plan B anyway. So if a project you are leading is going pear shaped, start looking for scapegoats. Your project team members are the first obvious choice and you may need to throw one or two to the wolves during the project anyway. To paraphrase a French Admiral commenting on the execution of an English Admiral: ‘It’s to encourage the others’.

However this is small fry and the action is expected. The crucial requirement is to involve your peers, so set up a ‘Steering Board’ for the project. This needs to include the Senior Management of any department involved or affected by your project. At this level they won’t be ‘detail’ people so you can get away with telling them very little. Keep it simple and talk about ‘joined up approaches’, ‘key issues being addressed’ and ‘corporate governance’. Your steering board will lap this up and by the mere fact that they turned up can now be allocated partial blame in any cock up.

Project end:

There are two types of project endings. The first finishes on time, on budget and achieves its objectives. This type doesn’t concern us here, as it is a very rare occurrence and you just have to claim the plaudits. In reality, most projects fizzle out when either its clear it won’t work or when the collateral damage to the rest of the organisation becomes so great that your colleagues get nervous and jump overboard, i.e. they stop turning up to meetings.

Both are positive results. There’s no blame attached and you are remembered for the positive reports that indicated clearly you were on top of the task the whole time it was running. You can also afford to look slightly disappointed that the project was ended and will get some sympathy from the senior management for its cancellation. Always, of course, put a brave face on it and say how you can also see the ‘big picture’ that they can and fully understand and support their wise decision to can it.

Extract from the best selling How To Get To The Top Without Working Too Hard (Dick Lannister)

Available from Amazon UK and Amazon US and all good online stores

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How To Get To The Top Without Working Too Hard only 99p/99c ending soon!!!

Book Fan small

UK Amazon:

US Amazon:

If you think the term ‘low-hanging fruit’ should describe a soft object that hits you on the head as you walk through an orchard, rather than a business opportunity that is easy to deliver, then you will love this book!

How To Get To The Top Without Working Too Hard finally debunks the need for an MBA or any other formal business qualification to progress up the slippery pole to management success. Dick Lannister reveals the strategies and cunning plans that an aspiring executive needs to get to the top but who, crucially, doesn’t want to work too hard to get there.

The Master of Corporate Administration (MCA) covers key topics such as finance, marketing, projects and presentations. It’s a course guaranteed to set readers on the path to

  • Financial rewards
  • Power
  • Share options

by answering a variety of questions that include:

  • Why do CEOs with a 4-year contract always have 5-year plans?
  • Is a liability a financial metric or a description of the leadership team?
  • How can an inanimate object like a company have corporate values?

How To Get To The Top Without Working Too Hard provides a humorous look at the business and professional world. It’s the perfect, light-hearted read for anyone who wants to get to the top… and fast!

Should you study for an MBA or an MCA?

Want a FREE Copy? See below..

Like a FREE Copy? See below..

Take this short test to find out if you should study for an MBA (Master of Business Administration) or an MCA (Master of Corporate Administration)

Q1: Your working week should be:

  1. A]  Monday to Friday, nine to five
  2. B]  Eighty-hour weeks and some Sundays
  3. C]  Shift work
  4. D]  It fits around my life

Q2: The CEO calls, do you:

  1. A]  Drop everything and clear your desk for action
  2. B]  Ignore the call as it must be a mistake
  3. C]  Send through a PowerPoint presentation you prepared a while ago
  4. D]  Run straight to their office shouting, ‘I’m here, I’m here…’

Q3: Your team badly screws up so you:

  1. A]  Take full responsibility, fix the damage and then offer to resign
  2. B]  Take full responsibility and fix the damage
  3. C]  Promise to fix the damage if you get the time
  4. D]  Blame another department

Q4: A project is:

  1. A] A series of tasks designed to deliver a defined objective.
  2. B]  A lot of documents, charts and meetings
  3. C]  A series of linked actions defined by a hypothetical timeline
  4. D]  No idea – the workers do that sort of thing

Q5: To communicate with your Mexican office colleagues:

  1. A]  Speak to them in Spanish
  2. B]  Speak in English but employ a translator
  3. C]  Speak in English loudly and wave your arms
  4. D]  Use a PowerPoint presentation and suggest they employ a translator

ANSWERS: Obviously D is the right answer for an MCA candidate in all the above.

  • Five Ds or more: Well done, you are well on your way to success with little effort and score a bonus point if you went straight to the answers.
  • Three or four Ds: That moral compass of yours is pointing in the wrong direction. Adjust and try again: 
  • One or two Ds: Middle management beckons
  • No Ds: Perhaps an MBA is a better option.
(An extract from : How To Get To The Top Without Working Too Hard published by Troubador and available here and at all other good online book stores)
FREE Copies! I have three ebook copies to give away – by randomly selected winner on Aug 13th. Contact me directly at dicklannister *(at)* to enter

New Book! How To Get To The Top Without Working Too Hard is now available

Book Fan small

Published: 28th July 2015
available at  Amazon UK and plus many other online book stores

Publisher: Troubador


Is surely what most of us crave….

Millions of workers are slaving away in offices from the Americas to Zambia and enduring the soul destroying 9-5 routine producing very little with salaries to match. Office life wouldn’t be so bad if we were the CEO or at least an ESVP as we would be driven to work, have lunch on expenses, with evenings saturated with free corporate entertainment. And all we would have to do all day is offer guidance and do a bit of shouting.

Dick Lannister got to the very top at Amalgamated Industries without either an MBA or having read any book like 23 Habits of Mediocre Managers, or Who Ate My Cheese. His key advantage was having the emotional intelligence of a Kumquat and a rampant psychopathic disorder.

On the positive side, Dick, whose alimony outgoings resemble Greece’s national debt, decided to share his knowledge and wisdom so that other could also rise up the greasy pole to success.

This book is the result of his generosity to the working man….

Using a splash of satire, some funny fiction and heap of humour, How To Get To The Top Without Working Too Hard finally debunks the need for an MBA or any other formal business qualification to progress up the slippery pole to management success.

The Master of Corporate Administration (MCA) covers key topics such as finance, marketing, projects and presentations. It’s a course guaranteed to set readers on the path to financial rewards, power and stock options, by answering a variety of questions that include:

  •  Why do CEOs with a 4-year contract always have 5-year plans?
  •  Is a liability a financial metric or a description of the leadership team?
  • How can an inanimate object like a company have corporate values?

In summary this book could make you richer and more powerful than you could ever have imagined……

The 3 Rs of Leadership: Restructuring, Redundancies and Rewards

How To Get To To the Top Without Working Too Hard is the Institute of Mediocre Management’s Book of the Month.


Restructuring: In effect dismantling what your predecessor did, although that was also implemented originally to ‘provide better returns for shareholders’.

Redundancies: Wages eat into profits. Remove as many workers as possible.

Rewards: ‘Performance based executive pay awards’ or bonuses can double a managers pay packet. Restructuring and redundancies deliver quick profits.

And we see that bosses of two of our most ‘successful’ companies are following the Institute of Mediocre Management’s advice to follow the 3Rs to personal riches:


New Boss:
Iain Conn started as chief executive at the start of this year.

He has been conducting a ‘strategic review’ of the business over the past five months, which has concluded Centrica should concentrate on the British Gas side of the business (short term rewards)  and reduce its activities in actual energy production (long term rewards).

Energy firm Centrica is cutting 6,000 jobs

Centrica saw a doubling of profits at its British Gas business in the first six months of the year.


New Boss:
John McFarlane

Mr McFarlane announced the bank would speed up the process of mothballing or selling the bank’s non-core divisions, to reduce them to a value of £20bn by 2017. He then said: “There is more that can be done to deliver better returns for shareholders, faster, and that work has begun.”

The bank has announced 19,000 job cuts.

Barclays bank has reported a 25% rise in statutory pre-tax profits to £3.1bn for the six months to the end of June. Profits last year were £2.55bn.

New Amazon Prime Time Service delivers even faster

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Top Gear Team will head up new faster delivery service available only to Tory voting, white males or ladies with big boobies.

UK parcels will be delivered by super cars or if going abroad by an old jalopy. Exclusions apply,  including clothing thats currently in vogue or any BBC DVDs.

Jason Calacanis – Angel Investor or Man with a Mediocre Mission

Although one’s management style here at Amalgamated Industries is a little dated, for example I like my people to wear jackets and ties in the office and drink tea from cups not mugs there is a young whippersnapper from across the pond who has some interesting points. I should mention that he often wears a baseball chapeaux reversed but that does not necessarily make him a hardened criminal.

Jason off to a Union meeting

Jason off to a Union meeting

He is Jason Calacanis, I wonder if he is related to the Suffolk Calacanises, lovely people one used to hunt with his Lordship. Anyway, apologies, I digress, Mr Calacanis has some pointed advice for young people who are just starting their careers:

In your career you will find that life is a zero sum game: the winners get the prime positions and the person who comes in second place for that position is the first loser—not the second winner.”

He then advises young people to take on every project the CEO asks, because:

How the f@#k do you think she got the CEO slot, by waiting in line? By random luck? No, she f@#king took that slot.”

Awful language but then he is an entrepeneur you know.

Some other feisty tips: “never leave work before the CEO does,” and “don’t worry about your salary, just get enough money to live in a closet close to work.”

And then I rather liked this next tableau. A sort of hunting analogy, and the Lannisters used to hunt Tigers back in the day when it was a proper sport. Nowadays apparently its frowned upon.

There are two types of people in this world: killers and the killed. The people who are killed, the deer, tend to huddle around the kitchen or go on cigarette breaks and bitch and complain about everyone and everything at the company. The tigers are too busy killing it to be bothered with such things. If you see people crying and pouting walk away. Go back to work. Here’s the language:

Deer: “Bitch bitch, moan moan, blame blame, cry cry.”

Tiger: “Hmmm…that’s an interesting take on things. I gotta get shit done, good luck with that.”

Finally … solve the problems your peers are too stupid and cynical to own. 

Marvellous sentiments – I will be posting these words of wisdom in the staff canteen. He has all the makings of a magnificent mediocre manager

And by the way my Nephew has just pointed out he ‘wraps’ on Twatter or something – anyway here’s the link  YOU ARE L

10 Things Workers hate about work (apart from work)

A new poll has revealed some quite pronounced differences between genders when it comes to finding things annoying in an office.


While messy desks, lateness and eating smelly food annoyed men and women, 56 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t bring up their gripes with colleagues, with most citing “not wanting to upset team dynamics” as their main reason.

Here are the 10 things men hate the most at work:

1. Messy desk (74%)

2. Colleagues spraying perfume/aftershave (66%)

3. Talking on the phone too loud (47%)

4. Being late (40%)

5. Taking too long at lunch (35%)

6. Eating smelly food (29%)

7. Too many cigarette breaks (28%)

8. Colleagues talking too much (22%)

9. Not being organised (11%)

10. Rudeness (9%)

Here are the 10 things women hate the most at work:

1. Eating smelly food (82%)

2. Being late (67%)

3. Too many cigarette breaks (51%)

4. Bad hygiene (34%)

5. Not being organised (33%)

6. Messy desk (29%)

7. Colleagues borrowing stationery and not returning it (25%)

8. Talking on the phone too loud (23%)

9. Taking too long at lunch (17%)

10. Dressing inappropriately (10%)

Source: Nicoccin

Tube Striker’s Champion, James O’Brien blackballed from Henley, Wimbledon and Lords


James O’Brien (LBC Radio) a rampant socialist, card carrying communist, lefty leaning, work shirking malcontent has come out in favour of  the striking London Underground  Tube drivers.

O’Brien criticised hard working, upstanding, better spoken and much better educated managers for trying to force through changes to hours and pay ahead of the 24 hour Tube launch in September without consulting workers. What is the problem? They are workers! Do what your superiors tell you to do!

O’Brien opined:

You’ve got a job, you’ve got terms and conditions – your boss turns around and says ‘oh no you don’t, you’ll do what you’re told or you can jog on’… If that was you, I’d be furious, and I’d be furious on your behalf – and lots of people would be furious on your behalf, and they’d all be completely ignored by the mainstream media and called ‘communists’ by the usual suspects.

What I really don’t know is how we have ended up hating people who can still take a swing back at their boss. We’ve been reduced to craven, forelock-tugging peasants who have to do what we’re told because if we don’t, well, there’s someone else who’ll take the job, or you can get something else to do, or you’re indulging in the politics of envy, or you’re a champagne socialist.

We have created a society in which employers now enjoy more control over our lives than at any point since the Second World War… We have created a country where when the boss says ‘jump’ you can’t say no, you can’t say yes, you can only say ‘how high?’ unless you’re a member of a half-decent union, like the teachers are, and the firefighters are, and the Tube drivers are.

Unbelievable twaddle! The man should should be frogmarched to North Korea! And the radio station should have its valves torn from its transmitter immediately! Pah!

Now I’ve never been on a Tube train in my life. Too many working class people and foreigners so this disruption of services doesn’t bother me, but my workers are coming into my factories late! And that is very irritating, and then they spend the day whining about how hard it was getting into work. For God’s sake, I say get a chauffeur or at least a Hansom Carriage. Get your priorities right, save money by cutting down your food bill, your kids are probably obese so it will do then good.

Also we need all the Night Tube so I can get my lot to work later. I need the profits, have you seen the price of a bottle of Bolly at Wimbledon?