Best Value conference 2014

Sunday january 12 2014, a day we have all been looking forward too. High expectations about the opening ceremony, the Kashiwagi family story. In a nutshell, law of nature kicked in, if expectations are really high it is just about impossible to beat them. The difference between the rule and no rule environment was explained dominantly by Jacob. Isaac and Joseph told us what it is like to grow up in a no rule environment, they loved it. The audience could observe how they did themselves.

Monday was booked for IMT (exam at the close of business) and for those who did not need a full day IMT exposure there were two break out session. Being from the Netherlands I was in the session to discuss problems with Best Value implementation in the Netherlands. First we came up with problems. In my group we thought that every group would come up with the obviously top one problem, execution period falls back to a rule environment, we thought it would be nice for the discussion to come up with another one. Which is what we did. Apparently it looked like just about each group had done this because there was only one group who addressed that nr 1 problem. Bringing up the problems obviously requires to come up with solutions. Regrouping and just pick one you like. Since I am Type-A and have no emotions, I didn’t care which on one to solve. So I ended up with the problem of Best Value look a likes. I already knew the answer (see my blog about Best Value wildgroei, Dutch only), so the challenge was to help the blind see. The trick is that everything is at equilibrium and if there is a force there is movement. That is what Dr Dean had taught us that morning. By law of nature the one who is forced will move AND determines where to move to, the person who is pushing has no control over where the action leads to. So all I needed to do was to get someone to start pushing, and that wasn’t all to hard. There was one person who was eager, after that it was a walk in the park.

The next day a few general session and split up in smaller groups. Most attendee had done a pre-exam and the results of that exam was used to put everyone in a group with just about the same score. These so called train the trainer groups were given 40 problems to discuss. That took about a full day. The first day went well for me, my energy level went sky high. Or maybe I should see my energy level didn’t drop where it dropped drastically with many others. Close of business was about the IT industry. And well, how can I put this dominantly, I saw an engineering explaining how bad the IT industry is performing and why.

The next day I felt my energy level was a lot less than the previous day. It also took me all day to digest previous days IT Industry bashing. A bit odd because I am type A with no emotion, but this IT industry bashing did hurt me. Eventually reality kicked in, from 30K everything looks the same, from that 30k level all industries look the same. There is only one difference between IT and engineering, in the engineering industry abuse eventually led to concussion. The later has not (yet) happened in the IT. By law of nature an industry is open to a paradigm shift if the sense of urgency is there. Most fortunately my energy level went up at close of business, which was needed as the BV PIPS exam was on. Once again I showed my ability to see into the future. The exam had three parts and I found the third part the hardest. So when I reached that point I first examined my own exam and drew the conclusion that I had scored 28 for the first part and 8 for the second part, so I just needed a few more points to pass. My conclusion was 100% correct, I had 28 points for the first part and 8 for the second part and scored 13 for the third part,  so I passed the BV PIPS exam as well.

The last day of the conference was covered by the final Train the trainer exam. 61 questions, really hard ones. It was more or less knowing when to stay at 30K and when to go into details and try hard to be simple in the answers. Will see how I did. Later that day I had an one on one with Jacob. We discussed my idea about the article one has to write the become A+ certified. On my way to Phoenix I had read an article in the journal for the advancement of performance information & Value about Performance indicators in the Best Value Approach by Allard Horstman and Wiebe Witteveen which inspired me. It is pretty good idea and it can work, certainly unique. Jacob and I rather quickly came to an understanding about the content, we also discussed the risk involved and how to mitigate them. I will follow up on Jacobs advice.

After arriving home the first question I heard was more or less: “What did you learn?”. Good question, and I will only go into details on one issue, since the main topics will be discussed January 30 at the Rijskwaterstaat meeting. What I more or less already knew but was showed dominantly by Dr. Dean is that a vendor can be a Best Value vendor at every project the vendor is running. Dr. Dean used the roofs build by Thom Tishammer as an example. During the conference I had talked often with Thom; at discussion groups but also informal at lunch, coffee breaks and what not. He explained how he managed to be a successful roof construction Best Value vendor. There also was a Dutch IT company at the conference who did the same, being a successful Best Value IT vendor at every project they are running. I loved both examples!