Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Art of Project Management - Chapter Three

Having recently read Sun Tzu's 'Art of War' I saw many similarities between war and managing projects. Call the enemies risk and chaos and most of the 2,500 year old advice applies quite well. So I am going to dedicate a few posts to what I humbly call: 'The Art of Project Management.' I give Sun Tzu full credit for his observations. I simply paraphrase him to shift the advice to my field.

Chapter Three
Risk Management

1. Sun Tzu said: The good Project Managers of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, then waited for an opportunity of defeating the project risks.
2. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating risks is provided by the risks themselves.
3. Thus the good Project Manager is able to secure himself against defeat, but cannot make certain of defeating the risks.
4. Hence the saying: One may know how to conquer without being able to do it.
5. Security against defeat implies risk management; ability to defeat risks means Planning Risk Responses.
6. Risk Avoidance indicates insufficient strength; Risk Acceptance, a superabundance of strength.
7. The Project Manager who is skilled in Risk Avoidance hides in teh most secret recesses of the earth; he who is skilled in Risk Acceptance flashes forth from the topmost heights of heaven. Thus on the one hand we have the ability to protect ourselves; on the other, a victory that is complete.
8. To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
9. Neither is it the acme of excellence if you execute and succeed and the whole organization says "Well done!"
10. To lift an autumn hair is no sign of great strength; to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight; to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a sharp ear.
11. What the ancients called a clever Project Manager is one who not only succeeds but excels in succeeding with ease.
12. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage.
13. He succeeds in his projects by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory; for it means conquering risks that have already been mitigated.
14. Hence the skillful Project Manager puts himself into a position which makes defeat impossible, and does not miss the moment for defeating his risks.
15. Thus it is in Project Management that the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
16. The consummate leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to method and discipline; thus it is in his power to control success.
17. In respect of Risk Management, we have, firstly, Plan Risk Management; secondly, Identify Risks; thirdly, Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis; fourthly, Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis; fifthly, Plan Risk Responses; sixthly, Monitor and Control Risks; seventhly, Success.
18. Plan Risk Management owes its existence to the organization; Identify Risks to Plan Risk Management; Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis to Identify Risks; Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis to Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis; Plan Risk Responses to Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis; Monitor and Control Risks to Plan Risk Responses; Success to Monitor and Control Risks.
19. A successful project opposed to a failed one, is a pound's weight placed in the scale against a single grain.
20. The onrush of a well-planned project is like the bursting of pent-up waters into a chasm a thousand fathoms deep.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dear PM Advisor. Oct 28, 2013

Dear PM Advisor,

My company has been unstable lately and my team members are leaving for more secure opportunities. What do I do with the schedule now that fewer and fewer people are working on the same amount of activities?

Sinking Ship in Washington, D.C

Dear Sinking Ship,

I'm hoping you resource-loaded your Project Schedule to show the effort required for each activity. That way you can show how many hours of effort are required. Remember, the hours don't leave with the vanishing team member.

You can then reassign those hours to the remaining team members and level the work to reflect that they only work 8 - 10 hours a day.

This inevitably results in lengthening the duration of the activities and the end date of your project. If anyone argues about your lengthening schedule, show them the facts that indicate why this was necessary.

If you weren't proactive enough to load your project correctly before, sit down with your existing team and plan out the number of hours of effort on the remaining activities and schedule them according to the availability of these resources. Now you just have to tell management: "I had thirteen team members, I'm down to ten, here's the effect on my schedule. If I lose any more, it will increase in duration, if you give me additional resources, I can reduce the schedule. The two go hand in hand."

Good luck,

PM Advisor.

Send your questions to Bruce@RoundTable

Thursday, October 24, 2013

PMBOK 5th edition exam aid

Back in 2011 I posted some aids to help you study for the PMP exam. But the cheat sheet I asked you to memorize and recreate once you get into the exam room has been significantly obsoleted by the fifth edition of the PMBOK.

So I've created a new one for you. You need to print out page one on legal size paper. A3 should work for Europeans.

Get access to a word version of it by clicking on this link:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Art of Project Management - Chapter Two

Having recently read Sun Tzu's 'Art of War' I saw many similarities between war and managing projects. Call the enemies risk and chaos and most of the 2,500 year old advice applies quite well. So I am going to dedicate a few posts to what I humbly call: 'The Art of Project Management.' I give Sun Tzu full credit for his observations. I simply paraphrase him to shift the advice to my field.

Chapter Two

1. Sun Tzu said: In the execution of a project, where there are in the field ten extended team leaders, as many technical experts and a hundred team members, with supplies to run the project for one year, the expenditure at home and in the field, including the entertaining of customers, small items such as paper and shipping, and sums spent on travel and housing, will reach the total of $30 million.
2. When you engage in project execution, if success is delayed in coming, the team member's skills grow dull and their ardor will be damped. If you lay a protracted siege to an obstacle, you will exhaust your strength.
3. Again, if the execution is delayed, the resources of the company will not be equal to the strain.
4. Now, when your skills are dulled, your ardor damped, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other companies will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue.
5. Thus, though we have heard of stupid waste in moving to execution too fast, cleverness has never been associated with long delays.
6. There is no instance of a company having benefited from a long delayed project.
7. It is only one who is thoroughly acquainted with the complexities of project executions that can thoroughly understand the profitable way of carrying it on.
8. The skillful Project Manager does not ask to increase the budget, neither are the same parts ordered twice from his vendors.
16. Now in order to work long hours when required, the team must be roused to excitement; that there may be advantage from completing the project, they must have their rewards.
17. Therefore in weekend and late night work, those should be rewarded who volunteered first.
20. Thus it may be known that the Project Manager is the arbiter of people's fate, the man on whom it depends whether the company shall succeed or fail. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dear PM Advisor. Oct 21, 2013

Dear PM Advisor,

My project was just cancelled even though I was ahead of schedule and under budget. My management says it's not my fault and they cancelled it for business reasons. But I still feel like a loser and find myself having to justify the project cancellation to my friends and co-workers. Any words of consolation?

Failure in Washington, D.C.

Dear Failure,

When I audit companies for adherence to Good Project Management Practices, I take the cancellation of the occasional project as a sign of good health. Bad ideas that are pushed through to completion just because we've already spent a lot of money and time on them is a sign of bad health.

Project are cancelled for any number of reasons, not all to do with the performance of the team. Your project might have been cancelled because your competitor came out with a product that made your project obsolete. Or there may have been two competing projects in your organization and the other one looked more promising at this point. Or there may not be enough resources to staff all the projects and there was another project added to the list that has a better payback than yours.

Often it is the job of a Project Manager to recommend the cancellation of their own project. Perhaps a technical obstacle proves to be too expensive to resolve.

None of these reasons are any reflection on the skill of the Project Manager. You did the best job you could shepherding the project to this point and you will be rewarded (punished) with annother challenging project.

Chin up!

PM Advisor.

Send your questions to

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sevety-first excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

          Two weeks later, when the crew had departed and the family was getting ready for supper, Gwilym went to his scroll case and pressed something on the inside, releasing a flap on the bottom. Gwilym turned the box on its side so that the flap was facing up. The boys gathered around. The secret compartment was filled with a lustrous, black cloth. Gwilym removed the cloth and unwrapped the object covered by it. Inside was a long scimitar. The handle was gold coated and inscribed with Arabic script. The blade was curved silver with lettering running along the center.
       “Wow!” breathed Jac.
       “Can I touch it?” asked Llawen.
       Gwilym lifted it by the hilt and, moving outside the circle of boys, swung it around a few times to test the weight. His muscle memory returned and he practiced a few strokes. Then he returned it to the cloth.
       “This is a dangerous weapon, boys. The blade is sharp. It will take a man’s head off with a single stroke.”
       Jac reached out and touched the concave edge of the blade. Gwilym was prepared to stop him if he got too close to the sharp edge but withheld his hand when he saw the target of the boy’s touch. “It’s not sharp at all, Da.”
       “This isn’t a sickle, son. The sharp edge is the other side and I’ll ask you to keep your fingers far from there.”
       Bleddyn looked curious. “But why is that the sharp edge, Da? Wouldn’t it just slip off a man if you were trying to cut him? It would be better if you sharpened the other side so it worked like a sickle. Or made it straight like a sword and had both sides sharp.”
       Gwilym wrapped the scimitar back up and placed it back in the box. “I’ll show you why at supper, son.”
       Later, as they ate at the tavern, Gwilym took a piece of meat from the stew and placed it on the board resting between their knees. “Bleddyn. How would you cut this meat?”
       Bleddyn held the meat with his fingers and sliced through it with his knife. He looked up at his dad.
       “Now cut at it as if your knife was a sword and that was the neck of your enemy.” Bleddyn looked confused. Gwilym picked up his knife and swung it in arcs at the piece of meat, pushing straight down each time with the sharp edge, rather than slicing. Bleddyn and his brothers all swung their knives at the meat, damaging it but not cutting straight through it. Often it stuck to the knife and had to be knocked back off.
       “Do you see now why the scimitar is shaped that way? When you swing it at your foe, and it hits him, the continuation of your swing will pull the weapon along the wound, slicing it rather than trying to dig straight into the body. That’s the advantage of the scimitar. And it never,” he held Llawen’s wrist with his knife stuck in the piece of meat, “sticks in the body of your opponent. That leaves you helpless to a counterattack.”
       “If the sharp edge were on the inside curve, like a sickle, it would be even worse. The blade would never slice, and you would always stick to the wound.”
       Bleddyn asked, “But your scimitar has only one sharp edge. So you can’t strike both ways. Isn’t that a disadvantage?”
       “Aye, somewhat. But you learn different moves and use your wrists and elbows more than a British swordsman does. I’ll show you after we eat.”
       He took his boys out to the beach. The moon was full. The night was clear, though cold. The boys were bundled in clothes and blankets, but Gwilym was wearing little. He directed them to stay behind a line he scraped in the sand with his heel. He held the scimitar, and then started making moves with his feet, hips, and arms. He seemed to be tracing slow, deliberate dance steps, each one ending with a swing or two from his scimitar. His moves became more and more complex, until he seemed to be swinging at four imaginary opponents surrounding him.
       He took a deep breath then erupted into a whirl of legs and arms. After about twenty seconds of this, Bleddyn could make out the patterns his father was making to be the patterns he was doing earlier, but now at a speed that seemed ten times as fast.
       Gwilym stopped and raised his scimitar over his head, stretching his chest and rasping air into his lungs. His chest was heaving and his boys saw the muscles on his arms and legs twitching on their own. After about five minutes Gwilym’s breathing returned to normal. He went through the set of rapid motions two more times, stopping for breath each time.
       Then, covered in sweat, he handed his scimitar to Bleddyn, took his younger boys’ hands in his and walked back to the village. The boys were full of questions and they talked over each other, not waiting for the answers.
       “Where did you get the scimitar?”
       “Were you ever in a war?”
       “How did you learn those moves?”
       “Have you ever killed anyone?”
       “Did you take the scimitar from a fallen enemy?”
       When the questioning stopped and the boys paused to get answers, Gwilym sat down on one of the dunes and gathered his boys around him. “Boys, I want you to listen to me. War is a horrible thing. Killing a man takes something from you. The only thing worse than killing a man, is seeing that man kill your friends. There is nothing honorable about a battle. While a war may have honorable intentions, like protecting your family from invaders, battles are a terrible thing to behold. With arrows and rocks raining down on you it is a random mess. Your friends are killed right next to you and you don’t know who did it.”
       “Then one of the enemies comes close. At first you hate him because he killed your friend. But he wasn’t the one. And you see his face and he is human, just like you. And he’s scared. But then he tries to kill you, and you realize that you can’t act human. It’s kill or be killed and keep doing that until you win the field or run from the field or die or get injured and dragged from the field or be left there moaning in agony until someone comes to rescue you or finish you off. There’s no humanity on the field of battle.”
       “I was in the Holy Land during times of war. I was pulled into the army and taught the ways of war. I was given weapons and armor and joined in battles. I was on the winning side and the losing side. I was injured. I killed men. I saw many good friends die or become horribly wounded. I took this scimitar off an enemy chieftain that I had just killed. His scimitar was better than mine and I needed it. Mine had a big nick in it from his spine as I beheaded him. I was soaked in his blood and had to wipe my eyes clear of it to find his weapon. I needed it to protect me from his men. It is made of better iron and showed no damage as I killed three more men with it. We won the field that day and gathered much loot. But I also lost my best friend in that battle, and I gave all but the scimitar to his widow.”
       “I will be practicing with this scimitar because I fear that Palomides will come again and I need to be ready for him. I’ll tell you no more about war until you are about to enter one so please don’t ask me any more questions. Can you abide by that?”

       The boys all nodded and they walked together back to their lodgings. Every night, after supper, Gwilym practiced with his scimitar. Before long he had attracted the notice of the villagers and many started to line the dunes to watch his performance.

To read the entire first draft in one shot, click here:

New Solar Battery Method

 As Solar Power becomes more prevalent, there is a push to store this energy for night-time use. I've posted before about storing wind energy in people's water heaters and electric cars. Here is a new method that stores heat in salt which melts until it is needed again. The system is small now but can be expanded. Currently the Arizona utility buys all the energy produced by this method.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Housing and Stock Prices over 120 years

The Nobel Prize in Economics went to three economists including Shiller, who theorized about housing price bubbles and P/E overpricing. I like the graphic that went along with the article and want to access it myself at times so I post it here for anyone's convenience.

Placed next to each other like the New York Times did in another example of their excellent graphics department, one can see how a soaring stock market drives a housing bubble. The drop we saw in 2006 was predicted and we still seem a little high so don't get that second mortgage to finance your child's education just yet.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Art of Project Management - Chapter One

Having recently read Sun Tzu's 'Art of War' I saw many similarities between war and managing projects. Call the enemies risk and chaos and most of the 2,500 year old advice applies quite well. So I am going to dedicate a few posts to what I humbly call: 'The Art of Project Management.' I give Sun Tzu full credit for his observations. I simply paraphrase him to shift the advice to my field.

Chapter One
Laying Plans

1. Sun Tzu said: The Art of Project Management is of vital importance to the company.
2. It is a matter of survival or bankruptcy, a road either to success or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
3. The Art of Project Management, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.
4. These are (1) The Moral law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Project Manager; (5) Method and Discipline.
5,6. The Moral Law causes the Project Team to be in complete accord with the senior staff, so that they will follow them regardless of their careers, undismayed by any danger.
7. Heaven signifies night and day shift, winter and summer, times and seasons.
8. Earth comprises distances, great and small and the technologies used to cross these distances.
9. The Project Manager stands for the virtues of wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, courage and strictness.
10. By Method and Discipline are to be understood the forming of the team in its proper extended teams, the graduations of rank between leaders, extended team leaders and team members, the maintenance of vendor supply lines and control of budget.
11. These five heads should be familiar to every Project Manager: he who knows them will be successful; he who knows them will not fail.
12. Therefore, in your deliberations, when seeking to determine to best project, let them be made the basis of a comparison, in this wise:
13. (1) Which of the two projects is most in accord with the Moral Law?
      (2) Which of the two Project Managers has the most ability?
      (3) With whom lie the advantages derived from Heaven and Earth?
      (4) On which side are methods and discipline most rigorously enforced?
      (5) Which Project Team is stronger?
      (6) On which team are the leaders more highly trained?
      (7) On which team is there the greater constancy both in reward and punishment?
14. By means of these seven considerations I can forecast success or failure.
15. The Project Manager that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will succeed: let such a one be retained in command! The Project Manager that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will fail: let such a one be dismissed!
16. While heeding the profit of my counsel, avail yourself also of any helpful circumstances over and beyond the ordinary rules.
17. According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dear PM Advisor. Oct 15, 2013

Dear PM Advisor,

Last week 'Ignorant in California' asked what stakeholders were. I defined the term and how to identify them but didn't explain what to do about stakeholders. In this post I will go over the next step in dealing with stakeholders: Stakeholder Management. 

Once you have your list of stakeholders, you should get together with your team, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, and fill out this grid:

Power Interest Grid:

You do this behind closed doors and hide the results from the stakeholders because you don't want the VP Human Resources to find out that you consider his power to be minimal. It's a simple job to fill it out. Write the stakeholders names on post-its and move it around the grid until your team agrees where they stand. Then manage them accordingly.

Nex tthing to do is come up with a communications matrix. Here's an example from my novel in progress. You list your stakeholders on one axis and your types of communications on the other axis. Then visit each of the stakeholders, explain your project, show the different forms of communications you will be putting out and ask them three questions:
  1. Which of these communications do you want?
  2. How often do you want them?
  3. In what media would you like them? (Verbal, face-to-face, electronic, paper, etc.)
D = daily, I = as issued, Q= quarterly, W = weekly
You'll have to either color code or put a slash through each box to indicate the media or frequency of receiving communications.

Then do what you promised. 90% of a Prokject Manager's job is communication. Make sure you do this right.

Good luck,

Dear PM Advisor.

Send your questions to

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Pope leads with humility

I'm so proud of our new pope! There are thousands of articles, radio and TV interviews and social media posts discussing how humble this new leader is. From the moment he was elected and chose to pay his own bill in the residence, we knew we had someone new in charge.

He is quietly taking on the staid traditions of the church, not allowing himself or the church be intimidated by the 'gay lobby' and all the entrenched bureaucracy. To the general public he is embracing everyone, including atheists. He is backing down from the controversial positions the church has held, not rejecting them, but refusing to let these positions alienate people.

Too bad the man isn't younger. I'm looking forward to many years of his stewardship of the Catholic church.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Dear PM Advisor. Oct 7, 2013

Dear PM Advisor,

I feel dumb asking this question but I've never heard a satisfactory answer. What is a stakeholder?

Ignorant in California

Dear Ignorant,

I can't resist answering your question with the one carrot top style joke I use in my project management class. With a broad Australian accent, I hold this up and say: 

"Stakeholder. Australian for fork."

I know it's corny but it gets a laugh and keeps my students interested. 

But let me give you a serious answer. I'll start with the official PMI definition and then I'll tell you what it really mean.

Stakeholder: Person or organization that is actively involved in the project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by execution or completion of the project. A stakeholder may also exert influence over the project and its deliverables. (PMBOK 4th edition)
Not very useful. The fifth edition doesn't make it much clearer:
An individual, group or organization who may affect, be affected by or perceive itself to be affected by a decision, activity or outcome of a project. (PMBOK 5th edition)

Here is what I teach in my class: 
Stakeholders are people who care about your project. They come from five different groups. Four are easy to determine, the fifth is what makes your life difficult.

  • Project Manager
  • Team Members
  • Customer
  • Sponsor
  • Functional Management 

One of your more difficult jobs will be to determine which of the many functional managers, directors, vice presidents etc. care about your project and are going to actively involve themselves in its success or failure. (Yes, some may lobby to have your project fail. Think about projects where the goal is to transfer production from one facility to a cheaper one or the shutdown of a facility.)

Your sponsor is the first place to start when identifying all your stakeholders. He/she can tell you the political climate surrounding your project and who cares about it, what power they wield and how to satisfy them. 

Add to this list the managers of each of your team members and ask them who they know who might be concerned about the project. 

Those combined lists become your list of identified stakeholders, the only thing other than creating a project charter that you need to do during Project Initiation.

Next week I'll talk about how to deal with this group.

Good luck,

Dear PM Advisor.

Send your questions to

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Seventieth excerpt from 'Twelve Towers'

         The next morning they set out for Salthouse, arriving a day ahead of schedule. On settling back into their lodgings, Gwilym stopped Fred for a minute. “I’ve been so concerned about myself I forgot to ask about you. How is Heilin?”
         Fred gave a broad smile. “Pregnant. Huge with child. I’m to be a father in th’spring!”
         “That’s wonderful, Fred! Congratulations! This will be a new life for you! You are going to be the greatest father! I’ve seen you with my boys. Let me buy you a drink to celebrate.”
They walked into the inn where half the crew was assembled. “Join me for a drink to the newest father on our crew! Fred will have a child in the spring!”
         The men cheered and took turns slapping his back, shaking his hand and telling various funny and scary stories about being a father.
         When the men had settled down, Gwilym asked Fred for details. “Did you buy a farm with your money?”
         “Aye. I bought old Fane’s land now that his mind is gone and he’s livin’ with his daughter. Got a fair price for it too. We’re using some of th’money to fix up th’old farmhouse. It needs a new thatch and another layer of mud on th’walls. Heilin loves it. She’s fixing it up now for th’wain.”
         “That’s great Fred. You’ll make a success of it I’m sure. What will you plant this spring?”
“I’m plantin’ wheat. But I’ll get some cows and sheep too, for milk and wool. Heilin’s always busy so I’ll dig her a vegetable garden to tend. Umm… Gwilym…I’ve been meanin’ to ask you…”
         “If you can go home in time for the baby, and to plant your crops?”
         “No Fred.”
         Fred’s face dropped. “All right.”
         Gwilym smiled and waited for Fred to raise his eyes to look at him. “Why are tha smilin’, Gwilym?” His expression was that of a beaten cur.
         “Can you not think of why you’re obligated to stay until the end of the project?”
         “No. I thought it were goin’ pretty well. We are ahead of schedule. You got money for th’mosaic so we’re under budget. Everythin’ is bein’ built just th’way we planned. Tha don’t need me anymore.”
         “Did you forget what you asked me on the day you arrived in Salthouse?”
         Fred’s brow furrowed. Then his face cleared and a smile broke out to match Gwilym’s. “I owe you some of my pay! I took out th’whole season’s pay to buy th’fields. Aye! Here you go, Gwilym.”
Fred fished out a pouch and counted out a large sum of money. He handed this to Gwilym. “That’s too much, Fred. You only owe me wages from March to May. You’ve given me six month’s salary.”
         “Aye. But I tripled my money so it’s only fair you get back triple.”
         “No, Fred. The books won’t work out if you do that. I’ll take back only two months of your pay. Use the rest to buy something nice for your baby.”

To read the entire first draft in one shot, click here:

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Government shutdown costs more money

I have a lunchtime exercise routine when I'm in Morristown that takes me up a nearby hill to an old Revolutionary War fort site. It offers good cardio workout and a splendid view from the top:

So I'm taking my walk yesterday and the gate is closed and adorned with a beautiful plastic banner that is adorning all National Parks this week. I saw the same banner on the Lincoln Memorial. Here it is:
How much money did it cost to print and distribute all of these banners? The government shutdown was supposed to save money but all I can see it that it's costing extra money and all these workers are going to get paid anyway. But that's not my main beef here.

I can understand that they get furloughed and cannot show up to work. But what right do they have in closing parks like this and the Lincoln Memorial? And the various memorials in D.C.? The workers are not needed there. I've been to the Lincoln Memorial and it is basically a big stone building with a statue inside. Why can we not walk around inside? What right do these non-workers have to prevent us from seeing them? Is this just the government trying to spite the citizens because they cannot reach a budget agrreement with the opposition party?

So being the typical Australian who cares little for authority, I walked around the barrier preventing me from getting my exercise and climbed to the top and back down again. Surprise, surprise, I managed to do this without the park workers, (who I've never seen all the years I've taken this walk by the way). When I arrived back at the barricade, there was some kind of uniformed officer waiting to talk to me. (Did I mention there was also a sign warning me of a $65 fine for trespassing on this National Park?)

I saw him from a distance and practiced in my head what I would say to him. My thoughts ran this way: This is a hill. I use it for exercise. You don't own it and you better not try to prevent me from walking up it because of your stupid government shutdown. I don't need any workers to help me climb up and down this hill.

The actual conversation went this way:
Officer: "You do know this park is closed, right?"
Me: "Yes, but this is my usual lunchtime exercise."
Officer: "Oh. Are there any more people up there?"
Me: "Yes. There's a wild Tea Party orgy going on!"
Actually that last line stayed in my head as I replied "No."

So what do we do? Allow the government to continue to spend us into bankruptcy? Default on our loans? No. It is time to make some serious cuts in government workers, and remaining workers' benefits and pensions. We need to bring some fiscal responsibility back to our government spending. So fire a quarter of the government workers and only hire back the good ones. That's what happened in the private sector and we are doing just fine.