Monty Python explains why your project failed!

As part of the attempt to develop my profile as a speaker, I’ve realised that I sometimes need to explain a few of my current talk abstracts a bit too much. This is mainly due to my lack of experience writing them and that the majority of my current talk ideas cover large topics that are not as technical as I would like.

My favourite so far is one title “Python explains why your project failed”. This is a tongue in cheek talk which aims to poke fun at the Developer, PM and of course the client!



This talk has yet to be accepted by anyone… but will be eventually I hope. In the mean time I wanted to share some of the funny thoughts and comparisons I’ve had coming up with the content for the talk. I plan on doing this by writing a series of blog posts one for each topic or sketch that features in the talk.

The Abstract

Python is fantastic! If you haven’t seen it you really need to. Its simple, elegant, powerful and gives you an amazing perspective on what we do as Developers, it is also hilariously funny…. Yes Funny!!!!

Wait! You thought I was talking about Python the programming language didn’t you? I’m sorry to tell you but we are actually talking about the most awesome of British comedy acts… Monty Python.

Throughout this talk I will take you through the development life-cycle of a project and use the Comedy of Monty Python to illustrate both the Good and the Bad (mainly the bad) aspects of our industry. All the way from Client introduction, requirements gathers, spec writing, team selection, planning and scoping all the way through Development to Testing, Delivery and Support!

The Delivery

This is a little harder to explain as I’ve not given the talk (yet) and I don’t think I could ever match the delivery better than the Pythons themselves.

However I have been known to dress for the occasion, so it’s quite possible that you may find me standing on stage in a red cassock at some point.

I’ve also managed to convince @phpcodemonkey, who is as big a Python fan as myself, that this talk should really be performed as a 2 man show, rather than me monologuing at a room full of people.

The Sketches

Due to the prolific variety of skits and sketches that Pythons created I found it extremely hard to select the few needed to fill a single talk. I have however managed to select a few and will change them around from time to time to suit the audience. I’ve provided a short list of a few of my favourites Sketches and a couple of words describing what they explain:

  • Spanish inquisition – Client Indecision
  • Dead parrot sketch – Stubborn Project Managers
  • Ministry of silly (array) walks – Tool Selection
  • Brian’s Latin Lesson – Planning and Preparation
  • We demand a shrubbery – Demanding the Impossible
  • Black knight – Solution fixation / Code Blindness
  • Camelot Song – Stakeholder Morale
  • The People’s Front – Team Fragmentation
  • The Silly Job Interview – Stakeholder Communications
  • Four Yorkshireman – Rockstar Developers
  • Argument clinic – Product Delivery
  • Architects sketch – Taking Shortcuts and Cutting Corners

The Finale

These are just a few of the potential topics I will be looking to cover in the coming posts, but while your reading them I want you to remember to…

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