The code of tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. In the [project office], we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following:
- Buying a stronger whip;
- Changing riders;
- Saying things like ‘this is the way we’ve always ridden the horse;
- Appointing a committee to study the horse;
- Arranging a visit to other [PMOs] to see how they ride dead horses;
- Increasing the standards to ride dead horses;
- Declaring the horse is better, faster, cheaper dead; and finally
- Harnessing the dead horses together for increased speedThomas Penfield Jackson
I was recently shown this by Alex Walton, principal at 3PMLLC.com, a statement by U.S. District Court judge Jackson, while managing the Microsoft case in 1999. I've edited it with [ ] to apply it to project management.
I'm not sure that Jackson was a happy camper when he said this; a good deal of his ruling in the Microsoft case was reversed on appeal.
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