Events and Reactions

Aug 31st, 2002 by Tony in QSM1

Feedback loops in action sometimes seem to have a mind of their own. That’s because managers are blind to the key role that people – especially management people – play in each feedback. All of the loops that contain management contain decisions by people: Whenever there’s a human decision point in the systems, it’s not the even that determines the next event, but someone’s reaction to that event.

For some readers this maxim will be the hardest to swallow of all the ideas in this book. They would like to believe that porjects obey some set of mechanical laws, like Newton’s Laws of Motion, and that the manager’s job is to learn these laws, set up the project properly, and then let nature take its course to success. This is an especially comforting idea to those managers who are afraid of their own workers, because it means that they can hide in their offices and manipulate plans, rather than deal with real human beings. As long as they deny the role of human action in project management, they’ll never be sucessful project managers.

— Jerry Weinberg, Quality Software Management Vol 1, Chapter 7

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