Wednesday, 19 June 2013

On pets and projects

While watching the Little Cat Diaries the other day, the experiment comparing cats and dogs behaviour to an earlier experiment with children stuck me. In the original experiment the children were pleased to see parents who left then returned to the room as they saw them as a provider of security.

They repeated this experiment first with dogs, who used their owners as points of reference and providers of security. The cats however, were different. They showed more interest in the stranger present in the room if anything. The conclusion was that the cats saw their owners as providers of resources.

I like to think we can make a (fanciful?) analogy here with project managers and the team. Formal command and control processes guide project managers into becoming dog owners. I would suggest that agile techniques put them in the position of herding cats and therefore "merely" providing the resources needed to achieve the team goals.

Be interested to hear peoples thoughts on this, first time I've tried a pet/project management analogy.

Edit 18/02/2015: Since writing this I think it could apply to many knowledge work scenarios with the process owners or management figures as the pet owner type.

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