Monday, June 05, 2006

The Big Con trilogy

The Guesstimating Department was busy; the only thing they weren’t trying to guess right now, was the next time they might be able to see their wives.

So when, early one Monday morning, a request came in to get an urgent bid ready for a new client by Thursday night, they felt they had to shout. So the Chief Guesstimator went to see Wife Sa-Dog, who in turn took the teams concerns to the weekly Operations Meeting that very same morning.

Mr Wiley Shrew, who always had a lot to say at these meetings, immediately offered a solution, in the form of a Mr Young Hope. Young Hope was in his mid thirties and said to be a ‘self motivated, high achieving, hit the ground running, dynamic self starter’. Wiley thought that with a word in the right ear, he could get Young down to Creepy for a few days to ‘put this to bed’. Wife, although a little uncertain, was forced to accept the offer.

So bright and early the next morning, Young Hope arrived in the office. He’d spent the last couple of hours on the train he said ‘developing a brand new estimating model that would ensure the bid was keenly priced and delivered on time’. He also promised ‘full transparency and detailed cost build up’. Wife liked the sound of that and felt somewhat reassured. Introducing Young to the Bid Manager, Wife arranged to see them again late Wednesday afternoon for a review.

Young was determined that he should be seen to secure this project for Aim-Meck. Ok, so he wasn’t a guesstimator, and he didn’t know the oil industry, so what? It didn’t matter, because he, Mr Young Hope, had a trump card; his best friend worked in the clients head office. And that best friend told him that the client’s budget for this project was £5m.

His plan now, was a simple one; he took the Bid Manager’s equipment list and staff mobilisation plan, cut and paste them into his new model. This to the Bid Manager’s considerably surprise; gave him a cost of only £2m, to which he added an incredible £2.5m profit, so that at £4.5m the price was still below the client’s expectation.

Then he spent some time ‘prettying up’ his model, as he was familiar enough with the ‘Aim-Meck way’ to know that style and presentation was everything; if it looked good, the content was hardly likely to be challenged.

‘We ended up with a much higher profit than I’d expected, thanks to this new model’ the Bid Manager, who knew next to nothing about spreadsheets, told Wife, ‘and I’ve been through it with a fine tooth comb, down to the last nut and bolt’.
‘Do we know the clients expectation?’ asked Wife
‘Yeah, we’re well within his budget’ Young boasted.
Wife was impressed, ‘looks good’ he said, as he gave his consent for Young to approach the gods for approval to issue the bid.

Young sent the bid through to the god of all things commercial, making sure his name was clearly visible on every page. ‘Looks good’ the god replied later the same day, ‘you have my approval to proceed. Nice work Young, that’s a fantastic profit you’ve achieved.

As young left the office on Friday, he said ‘you’re gonna make a killing on that job, you better call it ‘The Big Con’’

Young was laughing all the way home.


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