Project Management

Everything I Know About Problem Solving I Learned From My Dogs

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t exactly suffered from writer’s block over the years when it comes to contributing to the site and writing about solving problems of one kind or another. But I thought I would try something I don’t do very often and try some humor. So, with tongue firmly in cheek, here’s what my dogs have taught me about problem solving…

1. If you want a problem solved, make some noise. One of our dogs is loud. I mean loud! (No, louder than that.) She barks at everything—from people walking past, to the neighbor’s dogs, to a lizard that has been inconsiderate enough to climb a wall near where she’s laying.

All of these situations are problems for her, so she barks at them. If she doesn’t get a response, she barks louder. And if that response is my wife or I yelling at her to be quiet, then she’ll bark even louder still. Eventually she gets what she wants, and we’ll go and see what she’s barking at.

Sometimes there’s not a lot we can do about the situation—trying to explain that people are allowed to walk down the street doesn’t seem to satisfy her concerns. But sometimes, the situation is addressed to her satisfaction. If a land crab has decided to come out of its hole and wave its claw six inches in front of her nose, then she wants that crab gone. If I get …

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"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."

- George Bernard Shaw