Project Management

The Pensky File

Patti Gilchrist, PMP, is a Senior Technical Manager with more than 20 years of IT experience. Visit her website at

When I think of an example of poor governance, I can’t help recall the hilarious Seinfeld episode where George Costanza takes a new job and his first assignment is working on the Pensky file (Episode 72, “The Barber”).

George has absolutely no idea of what his duties are at his new place of work (or for that matter, if he actually even has the job, since the interview ended abruptly when his prospective employer, Mr. Tuttle, gets interrupted by a phone call). Rather than undermining the positive impression he made with his new boss by his assumed ability to understand things immediately without needing every little thing explained, George decides to just show up on Monday as if they had reached a tacit agreement.

The boss is out when he arrives on Monday morning, so a co-worker hands George the Pensky file as his first assignment. Reluctant to ask questions (once again, not wanting to undermine the good impression he made that he “gets” things quickly), he accepts his new assignment with an appearance of enthusiasm, “Yes, yes of course…the Pensky file. Ho ho, can't wait to sink my teeth into that! Wow that Pensky. Well we'll straighten him out!”

Having no clue what his new assignment is and how it aligns to business objectives, George manages to look busy for an entire week while his boss is out, but …

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Information is not knowledge,
Knowledge is not wisdom,
Wisdom is not truth,
Truth is not beauty,
Beauty is not love,
Love is not music
and Music is THE BEST

- Frank Zappa