Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Feeling the pressure


" [The concern my some is] that with all good intentions, some project managers might start cutting corners. It's easily done. Don't be fooled by the trappings. ....

This sort of success comes with a lot of pressure. There are deadlines, penalties, [finances], and [executive changes]. [PMs] are stuck in the middle. Priorities can become murky.

It would be natural for some to feel the pressure and choose speed over quality" 
Louise Penny, novelist

I'm sure you can tell from the brackets that I took the excerpt from one of Ms Penny's crime novels, but nonetheless her character's words probably ring all too true to many readers. One wonders if she is writing about the false engineering found in the diesel car industry or the calamitous decision-making in the aviation industry of late.

Risk assessment and confirmation bias

I put it down to executive-level risk assessments. Looking the other way or deliberately hiding is always the path to trouble. There is a political adage that might apply: the coverup is always worse than the underlying transgression.

Even if that is understood, the pressure of the moment is often telling. One sign: the stressed PM is looking everywhere for confirmation .... and making themselves susceptible to confirmation bias. It is likely they will hear what they want to hear.

It's like a bad email

Most people handle email (and social media) poorly, sending email (or media) when they are mad or when they think no one else will find out. Never make an important decision when mad, and always assume what you write will appear on the front page.

The same is for the high-risk assessments. Unless life itself hangs in the balance, there is time to consider the consequences more thoughtfully. Take that time.




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