The power of nothing, nada, zero, zilch and zip in project managementâ¦Top 3 reasons for considering the âdo nothingâ option.
If you really want someone to do something, explain to them the effects of doing nothing. Accurately described* consequences of not doing anything, spur people into doing something.
This is especially true for project management. People (particularly the Project Manager and Sponsor) get excited about new opportunities, new changes and the possibility of better things to come. So, itâs easy for projects to get off the ground, just because of the momentum behind the idea, without ever checking that it is really and truly needed, first.
To prove or disprove a project idea, always, always, always compare it with the âdo nothingâ option. You will convince yourself and/or others to either do something or do nothing.
Top 3 reasons for considering the âdo nothingâ option:
REASON 1: Appease the nay-sayers
If for nothing else, review the âdo nothingâ option to shut down the evitable resistance you will face when proposing a change. If you donât spell out the âdo nothingâ option, you will come across hard-core resistance that can potentially drag on and on, delaying, obstructing and over-complicating your project effort. If, however, you have proof that doing nothing will result in disaster (or the like, depending on your situation and circumstances â note that it HAS to be real or youâre going to make things worse!), then these arguments will quickly fade.
REASON 2: Use as a benchmark for how much effort to apply
The âdo nothingâ option is a nice benchmark for all other options you consider, as well. You donât have to solve the worldâs problems with your project. You can do just enough to get by, if thatâs what is needed. Or you can keep going, looking at various options to do more and more until you find the solution that will work best for your organisation â the one with the biggest impact for the right price.
- Q: What would happen if we did nothing to fix this problem? A: We will go out of business.
- Q: What would happen if we just did the minimal amount of effort to fix this problem (AKA âput a patch over it for nowâ)? A: We will survive at least one more year.
- Q: What would happen if we fully fixed the root causes of this problem? A: We could be a leader in this market space.
Analysing all the options, identifies the various cost-benefit-risk balances, so that the best decision can be made for the organisation.
REASON 3: Convince yourself (either way)
Sometimes, the opposite is true. You are the one who needs the convincing. Sometimes itâs you, the number one proponent behind a fabulous project opportunity who gets converted by the âdo nothingâ option. Blinded by the positives of doing a project, you hadnât considered what would happen if you didnât do it.
- Q: What would happen if we did nothing to fix this problem? A: Nothing. Weâve been living with this problem for over 10 years and have been relatively successful. It would be nice to fix, but not essential to our business survival
What other project idea should be considered that would have a bigger impact on business competitiveness and/or survival? Your current idea is a nice-to-have, which will only be nice to have once all the other major problems are fixed.
*Accurately described needs a qualification/explanation. If you inaccurately describe consequences of doing nothing, it will (not may, might or could), it will come back to haunt you! Fair warning from one Project Manager to another.
13 July 2016 â 6.30pm â 1 Fore Street, London EC2Y 9DT
Project Management life youâve never seen it before!