Friday, 25 May 2012

Its a Cats Cradle

The Cats Cradle is a children's game played with a indeterminant length of string. This is a little bit like the indeterminant number of committees being formed to manage the Inland Waterways under the auspices of CaRT. If you fail at playing Cats Cradle you end up with a tangle of knotted string. I have the same feeling about the CaRT committees

One thing I have learned in life is - the fastest way to make something crash and burn, is to involve lots of people each bringing with them a different agenda.

Now, I keep reading about a CaRT committee for this and a CaRT committee for that and another for the other. My internal warning bells are already ringing. Yes, I know that on face value the committee membership could be wide ranging and diverse. Whilst at first this might seem to be a good thing, it can also hold some avoidable pitfalls.

The first question is how the membership was established. As far as I can see, it must have been by invitation. But by who were they invited? So already we have the bias of someone else's opinion on who the make-up of the committee is going to be. What was the selection criteria, how was it established and who then chose the participants?

So the next question is what are the various committees remit and who decided what the remit should be. I am intensely interested in exploring various options, ideas, thoughts, and opinions. Systematically weighing alternatives in order to make the most efficient and effective decision. 

But what if the questions are shallow, undemanding and avoid anything that might make the focus bland and uninteresting. What if we are not sure of its purpose or what the process is. What if it is a Rubber-Stamp Committee that assumes that no one would question their take. Or god forbid a Fully Automatic Committee that always asks the same questions, no matter what issue is before them. Then comes up with the same answer time after time.

This will only foster the external Bitterly Realistic Committee, who like me are hopelessly optimistic. They will seek to expose every weakness and question any claims of success. 

The camel is alleged to be an animal that was designed by a committee!


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