Etikettarkiv: plans

Why is it so hard to change plans

Another story from my current assignment… (a bit vague, since the objective is not to point fingers at anyone, but instead to make reflections on the larger pattern of organizational behavior)

A neighboring project that is working on the same system with the same technology has developed a tool. A tool that solves a real problem that they have. Now they have some political traction so that this tool has been pushed out to everybody else, including us. But we don’t have their problem, we have another related one. Also, their tool actually makes dealing with our problem worse. We did, however, not really see this when it was decided that our project should use the tool, so the plans were made and now we have executed them.

I have really tried to make people aware of the fact that their tool does not help us, but instead makes things worse. So far, however, no one who makes the decisions has really listened to me. The tool has been pushed on us anyway. When the plans were made they were very hard to change, even if the execution of these specific plans were delayed for a significant amount of time (several months in our case).

Why are we in this situation? And why are such situations so common?

If plans are made they become very hard to change. Also if the desired change to the plan is to scrap the idea entirely it is even harder to do. The sunk cost of planning and preparing is holding everybody back from realizing that we should not go further, even though everybody is intelligent and intellectually knows that this is an economic fallacy and we should not throw good money after bad money.

The fact that the tool in question helps the other project but makes things harder for us is also a complicating factor that does not lend itself well to simple plans and one-dimensional views of the world. Therefore such complicating factors are often overlooked.

Finally there may be some prestige invested by various parties that makes it hard to move away from made plans.