Project Management

Why we must not settle for difficult to master in knowledge work

From the Manifesting Business Agility Blog
This blog concerns itself with organizations moving to business agility—the quick realization of value predictably and sustainably, and with high quality. It includes all aspects of this—from the business stakeholders through ops and support. Topics will be far-reaching but will mostly discuss FLEX, Flow, Lean-Thinking, Lean-Management, Theory of Constraints, Systems Thinking, Test-First and Agile.

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Why we must not settle for difficult to master in knowledge work

Some things are inherently difficult, no doubt. And some take years to master. But an attitude that the work you’re doing is difficult to master is a two edged sword. On one hand, it can teach the virtue of patience as in learning chess. But one can enjoy chess before mastery.

Learning how to improve one’s way of working, however, is an altogether different thing. We do not want to take a long time for this. In any event we should be interested in improving our work, not mastering an approach.

A carpenter wants to master creating great furniture, not his set of tools. An effective carpenter will take an approach that provides continuous improvement. His focus is on his work and his tools are selected to improve that. 

The problem with “difficult to master” applied to knowledge work is twofold. First, we shouldn’t even be focused on the approach but on our work. But more insidious is that it makes settling into a challenged state somehow acceptable. Teams often settle for where they are because it’s difficult to improve. It also lowers the bar for those espousing “difficult to master” to not improve their offerings because “hey, it’s complex and therefore difficult to master.” I don't buy this.

Posted on: November 16, 2020 09:13 AM | Permalink

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Very interesting, thanks for sharing.

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