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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Taking the plunge: into the outdoor pool and with research projects

Thursday, 14 August 2014 | Posted by: Sonja Specks, European Coatings Journal

Running, piping down, jumping in: temperatures above 30 °C, the outdoor pool is quite crowded and people are queuing at the 5m diving platform. While watching the people jump, some stereotypes become obvious:

The type "flop”: very slowly this type steps onto the spring board. Even slowlier, he walks to its end. Maybe because he thinks about his personal one while going forward. He starts seesawing on the board, very carefully. The board moves, too and – more because of his clumsiness – he falls down like a wet sack.

The type "candle”: this type walks straight-lined and directly to the edge of the precipice. Avoids every kind of movement or even little seesawing on the board. He squints, holds his nose and then makes the next step. Falling down with enormous body tension like a candle into the water.

The type "clown”: extroverted type. He needs a long jump run and shows a lot of acrobatics before falling into the water. This can lead to wild gesticulating while in the air or a perfect belly flop. Anyway, the tiles 10 m around the pool will become wet.

At the end everybody’s wet

All types of people appear again. Some swim proudly and enthusiastically to the pool edge. Others have minor injuries, which some bear heroically, while others theatrically ask for help. Others are simply happy that they survived the test of courage.
I think this is a good comparison to research projects for coatings. This means:
Are your projects accelerated?

The project "á la flop”: it needs a lot of time, not just to start, but also to accelerate. It has dragged on for a while in different departments. If there wasn’t a clear directive that this project must be realised, nobody would really have a look at it. There will be a moment when somebody comes up with some results in-between. They look kind of promising, not totally, but somehow lead to success.

The project "á la candle”: this is organized directly. Efficient project management with milestones, deadlines and clear targets set before the start.  Sometimes time pressure leads to a "close your eyes and hope the best for it” – mentality. But the project will be done very business-like and unemotional, neither moaning, nor enthusiasm pop up.

The project "á la clown”: a project is not kicked off, but marketing is already rotating with public communication about the necessity and good intentions. The research department, the colleagues from communications, the marketing and the sales people spin around. Sometimes these projects never reach more than this wild gesticulation in all departments, sometimes the project finishes perfectly and gains money very fast.

Different resumes, what counts is success

The most projects are completed at least with more knowledge, more know-how about possibilities. Some projects will then be presented proudly. Some will be presented less straight-lined, overlooking some less favorable results in-between or the horrible project management. The success counts. Other project results are affected by adversities. And some other project managers are just happy that the project is finished.
So: how does your jump into the water look like?

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