Encouraging deviancy in projects

First off, apologies for the misleading advertising — this isn’t a how-to post.

I’ve linked to a lot of Bas de Baar’s shared posts, but I’ve never commented on one of his own posts (or at least not in a long time).  Let’s remedy that oversight.   On a recent post (here), Bas admitted to deviant behavior on a previous project.  He stopped doing his status reports.  Or more accurately, he first sabotaged the status reporting approach (e.g., submitting the same report with different dates, added nonsense risks, etc.).

I asked myself: “Would I have noticed?”  Bas’s colleagues sure didn’t; or worse, they never admitted they did.  The only reaction came when he forgoed submitting the reports altogether.  Never mind that he had stopped providing useful information already… it was only when he ended his formal compliance that he got in trouble.

Sometimes our project’s rebels are our first and best indicators that something is wrong with how we’re monitoring and controlling our project.  I’ll bet that Bas had voiced his opinion to the project leadership.  Something like this: “Our status reports are a waste of time because they aren’t substantive, aren’t read, and therefore waste our time.” 

He was right, of course.   Bas’s post is a reminder that instead of punishing deviants, maybe we should encourage them.  Or at least listen to them.


One Response

  1. I was young. It was a long time ago. :)

    Rebel. Yep that’s me…

    “There isn’t a procedure I haven’t been able to circumvent yet. ”


    I am getting milder by age though. :)

    Thanks for the link. Love your blog..

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