Let me say this right away: I don’t really know anything about project management – what I do know is just enough for the usual small projects of my professional and private everyday life. And I don’t need to know much more about it.
My motivation for reading “The Crazy PMPprep” (A novel to prepare for PMP and CAPM certification) was therefore not to further qualify myself in the field of project management (or even to get certified), but simply curiosity. I witnessed various discussions between the authors during the writing process and wanted to know what exactly it was all about. So I asked the authors, my Harlequin colleagues BCO and RGE, for the manuscript and after only 30 pages fell for the charm of the tragic hero Henri, music therapist in a psychiatric institution.
Are you one of those people who think meetings are a waste of time? You could work so well if it weren’t for those constant discussions. And then the behaviour of the “fellow-meeters”: you start to relate something and are impatiently interrupted. “Why don’t you get to the point? We don’t have all day.” Or they pick out one aspect of your contribution and react exclusively to it, perhaps even with suspicion. Or a participant explains to you for the umpteenth time what you already know and have known for a long time. Or you are told: “That won’t work”, coupled with body-language reactions of devaluation, and your ideas are brushed aside. And so on, and so on…
I have already dealt with the topic of “decisions” once before, in September 2020. Two reasons motivate me to take up this topic again: Firstly, the new book by Daniel Kahnemann et al., which deals with this very topic and secondly, a quote from Joanne K. Rowling, who may be a good writer but apparently has not read anything by Kahnemann and – what is much worse – not even our blog.
I was pleased a while ago when I read Oliver F. Lehmann’s proposed project typology. He included a number of characteristics of internal projects that I recognised. As an external consultant I regularly experience that companies behave quite differently when their own employees are allocated to internal projects, particularly in business departments. “Just do it,“ seems to describe it nicely.
How the name of the ship fits the situation! Isn’t that funny? Yes, but only for those who have nothing to do with it. But wait: if we drill deeper into this event, we come to a behavioural pattern that should be more or less familiar to all of us: megalomania. This time on a global scale.
M.C. Escher, a Dutch graphic designer/artist born 120 years ago – he keeps going viral on social media and almost has pop star status. Who doesn’t know his graphics? Impossible perspectives, metamorphoses and optical illusions are the programme in his pictures and an almost endlessly repeated theme. A brilliant visionary!
“The greatest danger in times of upheaval is not the upheaval itself, it is acting according to yesterday’s logic.” (Peter Drucker)
Organisations are living systems
Not everyone has to agree with this, but for me it has become an important insight. To understand the point of my article, I will briefly explain my starting point: One of the first important decisions I made was to revise my image of organisations. I had experienced my employer of many years as a more or less well-oiled machine. But this image finally crumbled when this organisation was compelled to restructure in order to survive in a competitive environment.
The author of the following article is Michael Clark. Now retired, he is pursuing a lifelong interest in communication. This led him to language studies, to teaching language and contributed much to his work as a business analyst. He has lived and worked in multicultural and multilingual environments in different countries for most of his life – currently in California.
As already explained in the first part, the uncoupling of waiting from the stimulus entails higher uncertainty with regard to the probability of occurrence, which is increased by temporal extension.
An example: in the course of a project, people realise that its complexity is significantly higher than expected, which per se leads to the increased probability of failure. Researchers call this “dissociation”, i.e., the resources available to humans while waiting, include freedom of action, self-stimulation, temporal range and communicability.