Thinking is shaped by the words we use. Management thinking is shaped by the words managers use and are used to. If we want people to change their mindset, we must stop to use words that carry a history of bad meaning with them. Let’s start to create a new language to talk about development that explicitly avoids mistakes made in the past.
Project as a concept was devised in a time when management still thought they could execute an endeavor according to a detailed plan. This worked in the times of Henry Ford, when employees were glad to be paid, and customers accepted that their cars were black. Both is not true anymore. Employees seek mastery and purpose, and request autonomy instead of detailed plans. Customer value today is rather discovered than simply produced. Uncertainty is the only thing you can be certain of.
A project is a temporary organisation formed by people working on a sufficiently identified goal. As long as projects were few, changes infrequent, this paradigm had its use. Now, changes are the norm, and every enterprise runs multiple projects. These don’t function as temporary organisations anymore when each member is belonging to multiple organisations at once. I don’t see the concept adding any value anymore, yet it brings this whole history of misconceptions to the table… Continue reading