Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Folks don't think faster under pressure...

While I am all for having a sense of urgency, I can certainly tell you that folks don't think faster under pressure...

Have you ever reflected on your days in college? Would you have learned more if you had two weeks for every week of work assigned? Why do project managers think that pressure helps? Have they considered that putting stress on others causes suboptimal work that jeopardizes the longer term goal of strategic projects?

People only think fast when the anxiety level is self-imposed. Otherwise, the problem of pressure will merely be reflected back in the direction over time to the person applying it. Simply put, anxiety is not the optimal mental state for clear thinking over longer periods of time. In fact, it more than likely jeopardizes any scintilla of planning that does occur.

Maybe project managers and IT executives have gotten it twisted by reading too many books about sports. We all wanna be like Mike, a team player like Tim Duncan or even hit home runs like Barry BondsHank Aaron but reality says that us enterprise architects need to encourage our bosses to put down the sports management books. Physical performance may be a different thing entirely. That's why managerial techniques that may work for sports or physical labor backfire when applied to software development.

An important time-management and stress-management technique is to set priorities, and then address each task in a focused-but-unhurried manner. You can never do everything you want/should, so focus on the tasks that have the biggest payoff. Trying to "work harder" doesn't pay off. Why can't focus understand the simple concept of not working harder, but smarter?

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