This weekend I did something I’ve never done before. I dyed my hair. Call it a nearing-30 crisis, a moment of folly in Auchan, the inspiration of my sister’s perfect highlights… Anyway, armed with a box of little tubes, powders and liquids we set to work Saturday afternoon.
I am generally quite risk-averse. I think that’s one of the things that makes me a good project manager. I like to be in control, to work out all the possibilities. I like to identify everything that can go wrong so that I can counteract it. Managing risk is something I am good at.
So, as you can imagine, I did all the groundwork. We took the cream towels and my dressing gown out of the bathroom to avoid splashes. We both dressed in clothes from the bag of stuff to go to the Emmaus-France charity shop. I read the instructions twice and set the kitchen timer so my head wouldn’t burn in a horrible dying accident.
However, despite all these precautions, it wasn’t what I was expecting. It was like my head was bleeding as I washed the stuff off and saw it race down the plughole. And despite being assured by the friendly tone of the instruction leaflet that I would soon have a great chocolate colour with cherry undertones, the colour wasn’t what I was expecting either. Suffice to say we went out for an ice cream on Sunday and my hair matched the blueberry sorbet I had.
In PM terms, there was a risk I wouldn’t look like the girl on the box. I chose to minimise the risk by following the intructions to the letter. Now we know the outcome and I still don’t look like the girl on the box, it’s an issue. What are my choices to manage the issue?
Normally, issue management is achieved by proposing a change to the scope, schedule or budget to enable you to include the work required to make it right. With risk management and issue management there is also always the option to do nothing. If you choose to do nothing, at least investigate the other options so you know why doing nothing is the right choice. Taking no action is also an action, and it should be as thought through as any other action.
Standing under the little spotlights in the lift today made me look like my head was on fire, but at least today I’m not as upset about it as I was on Saturday evening. It was a shock, but having thought through my options I’ve decided it’s one I can live with, not least because in reality I don’t have any other options – it’s permanent dye.