Personal

This page will evolve over time…  

Personal:

This page is much more about ‘me’…  Notably, it will expand on my interests, and views, and make observations on the things that occupy my somewhat complicated and peripatetic mind.  Realistically, I absolutely understand that this is an indulgent and narcissistic use of web space, but I will try to make it at least partially relevant to my academic activities, and I suppose you can always leave if it is not ‘your thing’…

 I know some academics are involved in ‘blogs’, in ‘Twitter’, and in all sorts of other social networking…  I have a LinkedIn’ account, which I use for academic connections that contribute towards my research activity.  This means that most of my LinkedIn connections are academics from around the world who are involved in teaching or researching aspects of Project-based management.  I also have a ‘Facebook’ account, which I use to keep in touch with family, my children (actually, the way I said that infers that my children are not ‘family’ – absolutely not true…), and friends that I have known for many years.

 I do not ‘collect’ LinkedIn connections or Facebook friends, so unless you are a research or teaching colleague in PM, or an old friend – I would prefer that you did not ask to ‘friend’ me.   However, my email address is available from the details page on this site, and I am always happy to hear from academics, students, or business managers (and of course ‘friends’) who wish to keep in touch. 


Superyachts:

I have been interested in the project-managed construction of very high value Superyachts for some time, and they make in interesting and challenging subject for serious academic study.  Essentially, change in projects is tied to what project managers call the ‘Iron Triangle’ (thanks to Dr. Roger Atkinson of Bournemouth University – a good friend and ex-colleague of mine -  for the leading paper about this), which governs the relationship between time, cost, and quality or scope in the management of projects.  Essentially, if one of these elements change, one or both of the others also have to change.  This means that – for example – if a project manager wants to deliver a project more quickly, he either needs more money (to pay for increased resources – e.g. labour), or has to reduce quality or scope.

This is fine in many areas, but Superyacht contracts are usually based on a ‘fixed price; fixed delivery date’ contract, where quality has to be of the highest standard, and where clients often try to increase scope, but without having to pay a higher price.  The fact that the points of the ‘Iron Triangle’ are essentially fixed in this way makes the way that Superyacht project managers manage change within the contract an interesting and challenging research area. 

 SAMAR - Main

An added advantage of this type of study is that you get the opportunity to see – and indeed sail on – some remarkable yachts that are normally impossible to access.  The Superyacht industry is a secretive business, and the opportunity to visit a superyacht like ‘SAMAR’ (pictured above) is one that does not often occur.  This yacht is 77 metres long (around 252 feet), and is opulent beyond words.  It was under construction at one of the yards that was part of the early research for this study, and has been more widely documented in Boat International magazine (November 2007 issue).  There are some very impressive interior photographs…

Another UK yard was working on the refit of Eric Clapton (the rock guitarist’s) yacht ‘Va Bene’, which was rather nice for me, as I have been a fan for almost forty years.  It is nice to know where some of the money I have spent over the years on albums and concert tickets has gone !!!

This research was carried out using funds from a grant awarded by the British Academy, and the paper that documents this research has been published at Project Management Journal.   There is a link to the published paper on my ‘Publications’ page  This is nice work if you can get it, and all in the name of academic research…


Music, and the Guitar:

Confession:   I have been trying to play the guitar for many years (since I was about sixteen), and I am still struggling with it.  The spirit is willing, but the technique is weak !!!

The guitar looks great, and it has been set up by a good guitar technician so that it plays well – it just doesn’t get played well by me.

I sometimes try to convince myself that it is because I am left-handed, and guitar books, tabs, and chord diagrams are written for right-handed players, but in my heart of hearts, I know that I don’t practice enough, and I have a very limited supply of musical talent.

small guitar

Actually, I have two guitars – the rather cool looking ‘classic sunburst’ EB-335 style hollow body electric one that you can see here, and a fairly standard looking acoustic guitar.  At the moment I keep the electric guitar in Boston (where I work) and the acoustic one in the UK (where I still have a house, a wife, and children and grandchildren). 

So – there is no excuse.  Wherever I am, I have access to a guitar.  Most days, I pick it up and spend ten minutes or so strumming and fiddling with it, and going back over the two or three things I can play that sound like tunes (or bits of tunes).

However, realistically…  I have a long way to go to achieve my goals…

 Music is a different matter altogether.  I have a significant collection of ‘sad hippie music’ on my iPod, and on my laptop.  I also own the CD’s for most of it, and I still have a modest collection of what the youth of today calls ‘vinyl’, but what I and my generation refer to as LP’s (an abbreviation for ‘Long Playing Records’, for the young amongst you).

Most of the music I listen to is the same stuff that I have been listening to for 40 years or so – late 60s and 70s Rock and Prog-Rock (now there is a term from the past !!!) music by classic British and West Coast American bands.  Trust me – I have some odd stuff… 


More to come here…  This page still under construction