"If you prune regularly, you will never have to cut thick branches"

Last week I encountered this piece of wisdom at the gym of my youngest daughter. It immediately conjures up images ‘Hendrik Jan the Gardener is standing behind the hedge… Summer, sun, wrinkles and garden shears.’ Wisdom from a life full of experiences.

In my youth I was allowed to maintain our hedge at home. Beautifully green and purple, but mostly really long. Four hours of hard work with garden shears in the sun, between the leaves. Lovely. But sometimes, sometimes I would skip half a year. For no reason, just because going out for an afternoon was more important. Or because the sun was shining so nicely and the Stephen King novel was not finished either. I would regret that half a year later. Over eight hours of hard work and the sun was not shining so nicely anymore at the end of the summer. I wish I had listened to Hendrik Jan…


Yet you can apply this wisdom outside the garden as well. It is just as easily applicable on the thick branches that the government is cutting off now, because they had remained behind on their pruning. I think it is quite a job they are working on. Something new, with clear targets. Insecurity and traffic from left or right that has also got a green light. The government is basically a project team that implements complex projects in society, next to the work that returns every government term.

If a project is running, then it is also better to prune regularly. So that you do not have to remove those thick branches with brute force later. Unfortunately it is much like that hedge. Sometimes something more fun presents itself or it is easier not to do anything. Or a challenge arrives that you only saw coming quite late, or there is a colleague with heart problems or an identified but not publicly announced pension problem. That actually does not matter much.

Hendrik Jan would make sure that every hedge was in peak condition, left or right. A real project manager will make sure that every project delivers a product in peak condition. In other words: real project managers are not recognized by their tools or their approach, but by the hedge they leave behind.

I would like to wish all project managers, including our government, a lot of good luck in their pruning.