When I drive to work in the morning I usually take the same route. When I wake up in the morning I follow the same routine to get ready to go to work. If I were a professional athlete I would be very consistent in what I did prior to every single game, whether in the regular season or the playoffs. People like routine. People like consistency.
Metathesiophobia: the fear of change
No, this isn’t to say that everyone has Metathesiophobia. For the most part people are just “comfortable” with doing something a certain way and they find it less stressful to behave in a consistent manner. IT is filled with people who either have Metathesiophobia or are borderline cases. How else can you explain the idea that even when things aren’t working right project managers do the exact same thing over and over again.
There is the idea amongst project managers, not all of them, just the ones that I’ve met, that if something worked five years ago then we should do it again. Even if it failed every time since that momentous event (they were just aberrations and weren’t following the plan close enough) it is going to work this time because, well, it worked five years ago. OK, maybe I’m exaggerating this, a bit. There is a desire amongst project managers to have concrete targets, concrete deliverables, concrete requirements and a raft of concrete resources. Yes, everything needs to be in concrete for is nothing changes then everything will go according to plan.
But things change.
Let’s say that you are looking in a mirror. You are not seeing the present, you are seeing the past. It look light 3 nanoseconds to go from your face to the mirror and back again so everything that you see is 3 nanoseconds in the past.
Project Managers, or rather, IT in general, needs to stop living in the past. When you look at where you are you are looking into the past, so you need to stop that and look towards where you want to go. You need to look to the future. You need to understand that change is inevitable and that nothing is concrete. Nothing is cast in stone. Yes, it is difficult to nail jelly to the wall, but you need to try.
If you are following the same plan that you did last time, last year, last successful project, you are living in the past. Grab hold of the future instead.