Wednesday, September 2, 2015

LMJ Word of the week - haruspex

So we continue with this week's episode in the continuing saga of unusual words to be used for just the right occasion.  Le mot juste....

Haruspex (pl: haruspices) one of a class of minor priests who practiced divination, esp. from the entrails of anumals killed in sacrifice (>L haru = gut + spec = to look at)

It is the end of the fiscal year, and we are working up schedules for each of our projects. And the budgets. All of us project maangers are playing with the numbers, taking stock of how much money remains in odd places (I am pretty sure that they won't need any more survey money....), and re-baselining our projects.

Re-baselining is an odd term.  It means that we have a new chance to lock in a schedule for the year - and detail what we intend to accomplish for each of our projects.  After the schedules are locked in, we are responsible for getting those items accomplished.  It is a delicate dance.  If we push too fast, too hard, we risk missing a deadline.  If we pad the schedule with too much float, the labor money runs out before we get the work done.

We rely on tea leaves.  Well, coffee dregs.  Whatever.

The scheduling is as much art as it is science.  Some things, like grass growing, is outside of our control.  Weather delays are somewhat predictable - bad weather usually starts in late December, and extends through March.  Other delays are not predictable - if team members are pulled off of the project for an emergency effort.  And then there is the discovery of a black bear on our project area - resulting in delays as we figure out how to avoid endangered species.

Regardless, we are called to explain each delay.  So we rely on historical data, available funds, and a certain amount of haruscopy to determine what our schedule should be. 

I am re-naming my position.  And having cards made up.

Crorey Lawton
US Army Corps of Engineers

Anybody know where I can get a good, healthy sheep liver?  Heptascopy, here I come.

Many happy returns of the day to my lovely god-daughter, Allie Griffeth!

1 comment:

Elizabeth Henderson said...

and this year they wanted the divination, I mean baselined schedule and budget, prior to knowing if we even start the year with funds, continuing resolution or (and this would cause me to seriously swoon) a bonafide passed and signed Federal budget, or if we are going into shutdown mode for the second time in recent (since the 1990s) history - so we are really pulling rabbits out of hats this FY - hopefully none with sharp pointy teeth...