About Muddling Through

A parliament is a Place where People Talk (Parler, French). There are many places where people talk. They talk at home, in a café, at their work. People talk everywhere.

Most of the time people talk to find out what they are talking about.]]><![CDATA[

In a Parliament people talk about the Actions of Government.

In the Netherlands 150 elected people talk with one person of the Government. Because 150 people are unable to talk with one person most of them listen, sleep or are away. Only when they have to vote and the vote is important they are there. They are also there when they are on Television.

The 150 people are divided in 75+N en 75-N. N is >1 and gives them a majority. The 75-N are called the Opposition. It is their task to ask nasty questions. There are many small parties and to create a majority many parties are involved.

To create a majority many parties have to compromise. The effect of this compromise is that nobody is doing what he really wants to do. To do what they really want to do they use the complexity of the government system. Actions are hidden behind a huge wall of marketing fog.

The Opposition hopes that one day a representative of Government (called a Minister) will make a mistake and they can send him away.

When N+1 people of the others also disagree all the Executives have to leave. If this happens they try to find 75+N people and take over the management of Government.

What are they talking about? They talk about Laws, Plans and the Performance of the Government.

About the 5 P’s

I defined a Cycle-based Approach based on the 5 P’s Possibility, Plan, Performance, Protection and Potential.

The 5 P’s are related to the 5 (!) Seasons and other Cyclic models. The People in Parliament are Playing a Game and according to Will McWhinney they are playing The Analytic Game. The Analytic Game can be played in two ways called Make (Plans are implemented in Reality (Performance)) and Test (The Performance is compared with the Plans).

Outside the Government others are playing other Games like the Game of the Market (Performance vs Potential) or the Game of Politics (Plan vs Potential).

I have to tell you that I am in favor of the Infinite Game. The purpose of the Infinite Game is to continue Playing the Game of Life. The Game of the Market, the Analytical Game and the Political Games are Finite Games. Somebody Wins and many Loose.

When you want to play the Analytical Game and you are in Opposition you have to play the Game of Testing. Testing is a very well developed Game in Western Society. To Test you have to know more about the Method. A Method is ‘a Way of working”. In Government you HAVE TO (!!! A RULE) use a Method called Prince2

When you are using Prince2 it is rather simple to Oppose. The Project is equipped with a Quality System and the Quality System is there to Avoid and Report Exceptions. The exceptions could be discussed in Parliament. This never happens.

The big secret is that almost nobody in Government is using Prince2. Government is not applying its own Rules. It is unable to apply his own rules because The Bureaucracy is not a Project Management System it is a Political System.

Every Minister is controlling a Department and the Departments of the Government are highly overlapping. They fight and most of the time the Minister is unable to understand what is happening behind the Scene. Because of the Fight of the many Departments Projects Fail. Not only the Departments are overlapping. There are also many overlaps with local Authorities and of course the other Games that are played (The Market).

When everything is overlapping you know it is a waste of time to apply a Project Management approach. It is not Practical. You use a part of the method or (better) your Experience. Using something that Suits Your Purpose was called “Muddling Through” by Charles Edward Lindblom (The Science of Muddling Through, 1959).

“Muddling Through” is a “Method” where you try to Find Your Way through the Ever Changing Landscape of Many projects. Step by Step you move through the Mud where projects are suddenly started and suddenly stopped. Where priorities are set and suddenly change. Where money is provided and suddenly is gone. In the Mud you are able to move two steps ahead. Later you have to move one step back. When the result is one step ahead you are happy. When the result is one step back you smile and start all over again. Sometimes a Miracle happens and a project is successfull.

Because the Bureaucracy is not using Prince2 many of the Projects in Government FAIL. Parliament is accustomed to this. When Projects Fail the Minister is often not aware of the real reasons. In Parliament he tells the Story his Department has written for him.

The Representatives in Parliament know this. When you are part of the 75+N you Protect the Executive. When you are part of the 75-N it is easy to attack the Executive but you know that it want help at all because the Executive is Protected.

Parliament was created in the Trias Politica to be a Counterforce to the Executive Power representing the People. In reality the 75+N are a representative of the Executive. Only the Minority represents the People and they are without any Power. Even the Majority is without Power because they are unable to manage the “Muddling Through”.

It is not difficult to see why the People that Elected the members of Parliament to control the Executive Power don’t believe in the System.

I want to tell you my secret. I also don’t believe in a Project Management Approach. It only works when You have Total Control. You have Total Control when Everybody is Supporting You. This happens when everybody believes in a Common Enemy (or Friend). When you use the Method of the Common Enemy and convince people that when you don’t fight the Common Enemy you are a Coward you have a lot in common with a Fascist. They created common Enemies. Democracy was created to avoid this.

Big Changes need the Support of the Majority of the People but at this moment the Wheel of Time is in the State of Individuality. This is the real reason why there is such a big overlap. Everybody wants to do it on his Own Way.

Individuality shows itself in two ways Egoism and Holism, trying to find the Whole again.

Politicians could start to focus on the Whole instead of the Detail.

They could stop protecting the Minister and help him.

They could also stop to ask Nasty Questions when they already know the Answers.

Dialogue is about finding out what you are really talking about.

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