Succeed by giving up

Everybody knows a project running a death march. The deadline is nearing quickly but the product is not ready by far. New problems pop-up every day, every change seems to make things worse, developers are doing overtime against their will, budgets have exceeded, requirements are slipping rapidly to make up for requirements that could not be finished in time.

This reminded me of what my daughter did when she was facing her final exams at high school. It was math that was troubling her — or better, it was troubling us –because results were quite low. So she needed a good point for her final for Math to pass.

If I were in her shoes, I would start studying hard, really hard, to catch up with all the stuff that I had missed in the past months. The easy parts are easy to succeed, so I would not give them much attention, just look through it to refresh my memory. But the difficult parts, I would study — for hours. But… my daughter did precisely the opposite.

“This, this and this I do not understand, so lets skip it”, she said, “I will fail on those parts anyway so why waste more time on it.” And then she started studying on the subjects she was already good at, paying no attention to her weaknesses. Why? “Because I’ll mess up most of it anyway, so those parts are going to save me”. And she passed her exams… not with straight ‘A’-s, but she passed! And she was focussed and did not worry for a minute.

I admire her for this…

About Frank Schophuizen (fschop)

Hi, my name is Frank Schophuizen and I am working as a consultant in CM, Agile and ALM for TOPIC Embedded Systems. I have over 30 years experience in software development in the technology industry, with the last 15 years mainly in process improvement, deployment and integration of methods and tools in the area of Agile (SAFe, Scrum), CM and ALM. I am strongly interested in the complexities of collaboration and integration in multi-project and multi-site organizations. I have worked with various technology companies such as Philips, ASML, NXP and Vanderlande, and with various tool vendors such as Atlassian (e.g. Jira, Confluence),IBM Rational (e.g. ClearCase, Synergy, Jazz products) as well as open source tools (e.g. SVN, Git, Jenkins, Trac, Eclipse). I am living in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, with my wife. We have 3 adult children. My main hobbies are classical music and photography.
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