After centuries of struggling to take parliamentary democracy and good project management techniques to the furthest reaches of the globe, Western Civilisation is feeling pretty pleased with progress so far. While some have promoted democracy as the defining value of Western Civilisation, it has been clear to those in the know that efficient project management is the far more useful value to spread in the long run. Fortunately it is the latter ideas that have really taken hold.
Ben Hurley, a systems analyst from Stoke, explained more in an interview yesterday: "It's pretty obvious that democracy has been a big hit," he said, looking up from his computer where he continued typing throughout the interview. "I mean, very few people are willing to come right out and say they hate democracy. So that's going well."
In response to the suggestion that many so-called democracies around the world merely provide a thin cover for authoritarian practices and rich politicians in bed with media moguls, Mr Hurley sighed as he typed and said, "Of course you're right. But the point is, everyone accepts democracy in theory, if not in practice." He then brightened up and said, "But the really good news is that good project management is an even bigger hit than democracy. It gets things done, and that's what matters. Let's face it, systematic project management is our really big achievement as a civilisation."
He went on to explain that ideas such as correct phasing of projects, measurable outcomes, target monitoring and dynamic task assignment had taken the world by storm, with a much higher genuine uptake than for democratic ideas. "From dam-building to health targets to tourist development, the world couldn't do without high-performing project management," he explained. "At the moment I'm using 'Agile' project management, which means approaching dynamic situations in a controlled but flexible manner. You can't argue with that. Can you?"
And indeed very few people do argue with the principles of effective project management. "It's the oil that keeps Western Civilisation going," explained Ted Hanling, a management consultant from New York. "Apart from anything else, how would we get the actual oil without it?" He laughed at his little joke, then added, "But seriously, people love it. Even China loves it. The project management program Prince 2 is way more powerful than democracy. You can build a large infrastructure project with pretty much any form of government - except North Korea - but you can't do shit without good project management."
Dissenting voices have asked whether efficient project management is indeed the value most worth spreading in the world. "I sometimes think," said Sarah Bainbridge, a woman of no importance from Cheshire, "That it should be more about doing what really needs doing, and doing it in a way that makes people happy, rather than just about doing whatever as quickly and efficiently as possible." When this was put to Theresa Lee, a project manager from Singapore, an authoritarian country in South East Asia, Ms Lee replied, "But of course what you do is important. Setting your goals is the most important part of any good project management. I don't do anything without making sure we are going to get the correct outputs. I'm so grateful to my course in Business Studies in London for teaching me this."