Project Management

Interchangeable Project Lenses Can Reveal the Unseen

George Dinwiddie is an independent software development coach who helps organizations, large and small, to increase the effectiveness of their software development efforts. He provides guidance over a broad range, at the organizational, process, team, interpersonal, and technical levels. He is currently crusading to break down the barriers that hinder effective collaboration between the business, the programmers, and the testers. George is a frequent speaker at Agile conferences. See his blog at

When we see the same view every day, we get complacent. We no longer notice certain details and potential failure points. Habit, rather than choice, controls many of our behavioral responses. We may be doing fine, but such a limited view doesn’t promote getting any better and leaves us vulnerable to changes outside our control. Or we may be missing points that are essential to the success we want.

Being the Project Photographer
I started taking photographs with a Kodak brownie camera. It had a simple lens that approximated the field of view of the human eye. Years later when I bought an interchangeable lens camera, it came with only one lens with a similar field of view. Photographers call this a “normal lens” for that reason. You can take good pictures with such a lens, but it limits the range of pictures you can take.

Sometimes I could borrow my father’s zoom telephoto lens and use it on my camera. This lens allowed me to see differently. It brought more distant objects closer, and created interesting contrasts with closer objects. I loved this lens, and used it whenever I got the chance because it allowed me to take photos that were not possible with my normal lens. It allowed me to see the world in a different way.

Over time, I bought a range of different focal length lenses. This gave me more options than a “boring normal lens…

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