The Status Quo Problem

PMI NC Piedmont Triad Chapter, and Shawn P. Quigley

In our one of our recent articles, Embracing Mistakes: Learning from Experience, we discussed that making mistakes are part of project management and that the key is what you do when they occur. We also alluded to the perils of not changing anything and expecting process and procedures to improve. This is what we shall discus in this article—the status quo (or the statement, “We have always done it that way”).

If you have always done something a certain way, no growth or development has occurred in capability. This is called stagnation, which breeds complacency, which often yields discontent. This in turn causes an increase in the errors associated with that activity. This is anything but productive.

The “out” from this seemingly endless down spiral is to plan change—and learn from what the actual results are versus the intended results. No effective change can occur (or is implemented) without a follow-on plan to verify the results and amend the change accordingly. This process is strikingly similar to the actions we do when progressing through any project: plan, do, check, act.

So we can surmise from this that every change is in and unto itself a project, but for our processes, procedures and people. If we use this thinking, we could apply our project planning procedures to a change to …

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If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base.

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