Friday, February 26, 2010

Of Maps and Compass

A recent  piece by Piers Brendon* caught my eye as I was preparing a recent presentation on value earning:

"...the past is a map, not a compass. It charts human experience [read: project team], stops at the present, and gives no clear sense of direction"

One might argue a bit with the last point, but the first is clear enough: beware extrapolations of history based on trends developed from linear equations of past performance that purport to represent an accurate forecast of the uncertainties of the future.

The project manager's mission is clear: "Defeat the unfavorable forecast with assertive action to deliver the best value to the customer, taking measured risks to do so"

Bendon goes on: .."History does not repeat itself, nor does it proceed in rhythms or cycles [read: agilists beware!]. Events buck trends [read: have a decision protocol at the ready to deal with the uncertain]. Everything is subject to the 'viccistudes of fortune"

I don't get to use 'viccissitudes' that often, so I thought I would through that in!

*Noted author of "The Decline and Fall of the British Empire"

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