Insights about Software Projects – Part 5

I am writing a series of posts that summarizes some of the insights I have gained while working in the Professional Services/IT Consulting world.

My goal with this series to increase awareness of important aspects of projects, promote improved thinking about projects, and ultimately help you deliver projects successfully.

You can read or view all the posts in this series through this link.

Insight: All Problems are People Problems

One of the key insights I have learned from Jerry Weinberg’s book The Secrets of Consulting was that “all problems are essentially people problems”. In the world of software projects and technology, this may seem ironical. I have lived and observed the truth behind this insight on several software projects and it is useful to always keep this insight at the back of our minds.

As we try to create more complex products and work on complex projects, it is easy to believe that our problems and challenges stem from technology. As Virginia Satir correctly noted – Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem!

What matters is how we respond and combat this complexity. We always have more choices than we think we do. This also means that we have to take responsibility for our actions and failures (and the pressure is so much more!).

I have noticed that in situations where something goes wrong on a project, my initial knee-jerk reaction is usually to blame the circumstances and the environment. However, I have found it to be extremely effective and beneficial to stand back and ask myself the question – How did I contribute to this situation?

I always find that there is something I did or did not do that led to this situation. Once I stop blaming and get back to my power zone of determining what needs to happen, what actions I can take to facilitate a solution, and who I can approach to help me with the problem, the problem is almost always effectively resolved.

As Professionals, we must learn to cherish the fact that the buck actually stops with us!

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