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Archive of Point Lookout for 2022

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Bottom: Aerial view of the Forth Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland. Top: Inside the Forth Rail Bridge, from a ScotRail 158 on August 22, 1999.Coming June 1: Mental Accounting and Technical Debt
In many organizations, technical debt has resisted efforts to control it. We've made important technical advances, but full control might require applying some results of the behavioral economics community, including a concept they call mental accounting. Available here and by RSS on June 1.
A goose and goslingsAnd on June 8: Flexible Queue Management
In meetings of 5-30 participants, managing the queue of contributors can be challenging. A strict first-in-first-out order can cause confusion and waste of time if important contributions are delayed. Some meetings need more flexible queue management. Available here and by RSS on June 8.

This page has links to articles from 2022. For other years:

May 25, 2022

The lies inside the truthOn Reporting Noncompliance
Regulating compliance with process design in organizations requires monitoring process usage. Typically, process monitors depend on reports from process participants. In blame-oriented cultures, fear of retribution can limit what these reports contain.

May 18, 2022

Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, in 1975Obscuring Ignorance
Some people are uncomfortable revealing that they have limited understanding of topics related to the issues at hand. They can't allow themselves to ask, "Pardon me, what does X mean?" Here are a few of the techniques they use to obscure their ignorance.

May 11, 2022

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus). Jardin des Plantes, ParisCapability Inversions and Workplace Abuse
A capability inversion occurs when the person in charge of an effort is far less knowledgeable about the work than are the people doing that work. In some capability inversions, abusive behavior by the unit's leader might be misinterpreted as bullying.

May 4, 2022

A sturdy fence with a working gateRational Scope Management
In project management, rational, responsible scope management helps us focus on the task at hand. But rational scope management lets us adapt our work to changes in external factors, and changes in our understanding of the problem.

April 27, 2022

Aedes aegypti mosquito in Dar es Salaam, TanzaniaDepth First or Breadth First?
When investigating candidate solutions to a problem, we tend to focus first on what we believe is the "best bet." But a more systematic approach can sometimes yield dramatic advantages by reducing the cost of the investigation and the time it requires.

April 20, 2022

Disappointment that has escalated through frustration and possibly to angerAnticipatory Disappointment at Work
Disappointment is usually unpleasant, and sometimes benign. But when it occurs before we have evidence of bad news — when it is anticipatory — disappointment can be unnecessary and expensive. What is anticipatory disappointment? What are the risks?

April 13, 2022

Cassandra, from a painting by Evelyn De Morgan (1855-1919)Cassandra at Work
When a team makes a wrong choice, and only a tiny minority advocated for what turned out to have been the right choice, trouble can arise when the error at last becomes evident. Maintaining team cohesion can be a difficult challenge for team leaders.

April 6, 2022

A symphony orchestra in actionThe Risks of Rehearsals
Rehearsing a conversation can be constructive. But when we're anxious about it, we can imagine how it would unfold in ways that bias our perceptions. We risk deluding ourselves about possible outcomes, and we might even experience stress unnecessarily.

March 30, 2022

A happy dogMore Things I've Learned Along the Way: V
When I gain an important insight, or when I learn a lesson, I make a note. Example: If you're interested in changing how a social construct operates, knowing how it came to be the way it is can be much less useful than knowing what keeps it the way it is.

March 23, 2022

The side mirror view from an automobilePremortems
Premortems are simulated retrospective examinations of future events, conducted as if those future events had already occurred. By combining the benefits of psychological safety with a shift in temporal perspective, they offer advantages for planners.

March 16, 2022

"My Wife and My Mother-in-Law", a famous optical illusionResolving Ambiguity
Ambiguity is anathema to success in collaborations. It causes errors and rework, extending time-to-market. When we interpret information, we often choose the first interpretation we find, never recognizing that others are possible. That leads to failure.

March 9, 2022

Holding a lighted matchQuasi-Narcissistic Quasi-Subordinates
One troublesome kind of workplace collaboration includes those that combine people of varied professions and ranks for a specific short-term mission. Many work well, but when one of the group members displays quasi-narcissistic behaviors, trouble looms.

March 2, 2022

A picture of a Snow Crystal taken by Wilson Bentley, "The Snowflake Man"Logical Presentation Can Be Ineffective
Although logic and reasoning are useful tools for problem solving and decision-making, they're less useful for exchanging ideas among collaborators. Effectiveness in presenting one's own views to others requires more clarity than logic.

February 23, 2022

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912Disproof of Concept
Proof-of-concept studies of system designs usually try to devise solution options and discover the system's operating constraints. But limitations can become clear too late. A different approach — disproof of concept — can be a useful alternative.

February 16, 2022

A scientifically accurate atomic model of the external structure of the SARS-CoV-2Vendor Mismanagement
When we outsource knowledge work to vendors, we expect to achieve the desired result with less risk and uncertainty than if we did the work ourselves. But mission creep, mission retrenchment and employee capture can lead to less welcome results.

February 9, 2022

Big Spring, a giant karst spring in The Ozarks, MissouriDefect Streams and Their Sources
Regarding defects as elements of a stream provides a perspective that aids in identifying causes other than negligence. Examples of root causes are unfunded mandates, misallocation of the cost of procedure competence, and frequent changes in procedures.

February 2, 2022

Children playing a computer gameThe Risk of Astonishing Success
When we experience success, we're more likely to develop overconfidence. And when the success is so extreme as to induce astonishment, we become even more vulnerable to overconfidence. It's a real risk of success that must be managed.

January 26, 2022

The iconic image of cyber code, as popularized in the film The MatrixCyber Rumors in Organizations
Rumor management practices in organizations haven't kept up with rumor propagation technology. Rumors that propagate by digital means — cyber rumors — have longer lifetimes, spread faster, are more credible, and are better able to reinforce each other.

January 19, 2022

An exit signComply, Resist, or Exploit?
When we encounter obstacles, we have choices about how we deal with them. Generally, we can comply, we can resist, or sometimes, we can find ways to use the obstacles — to exploit them — to advance to our objectives. The pandemic provides two examples.

January 12, 2022

A fist crushing a small cardboard containerOn Gratuitous Harshness
Rejecting with gratuitous harshness the contributions of others can be an expensive pattern to tolerate — or to indulge. Understanding how the costs arise and what factors exacerbate them is the first step to controlling the pattern.

January 5, 2022

Two football teams face off at the line of scrimmageCovert Inter-Team Noncooperation
Occasionally teams find that they must cooperate with another team despite strong misgivings. Because noncooperation isn't an option, they find covert ways to avoid cooperating. Here's a little catalog of techniques of Covert Inter-Team Noncooperation.

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