Take a look at this picture.
What do you see?
Right, it’s a couch.
My wife and I, we own this couch.
And I fuckin’ hate it.
It looks like from an 80s movie. Not at all my style.
But it’s the only couch we have. My wife Sonja and I, we spend our evenings on it: Watching Netflix, reading books or writing a new article for you on tacticalprojectmanager.com.
I know, you might be asking:
“Why the heck did you buy it if you don’t like it, Adrian?”
Here’s the answer …
7 years ago, my wife and I were standing in the furniture store. We needed a new couch. And as I tend to be quite dominant in buying decisions, I wanted to let me wife pick the couch of her dreams.
So we got the big fat elephant.
But … as it turned out recently, my wife didn’t want this couch…. at all.
Me: “I thought YOU wanted to have this couch”
My wife: “No, I never liked it! I thought it was YOUR favorite”
Can you imagine how stupid we felt?
$1000 for a couch that neither of us wanted.
What was the problem?
MY WIFE AND I WERE TRAPPED BY A FALSE ASSUMPTION.
This is a funny little story, but it shows you what stupid situations a false assumption can get you into. We can laugh, no one got hurt, and you can say it’s a luxury problem.
But think deeper about assumptions.
Sometimes wrong assumptions can have devastating consequences.
Just look at this incident I came across:
AIR CANADA FLIGHT 143 RAN OUT OF FUEL!
Flight 143 took off with a broken fuel management system. The pilots had assumed the issue wasn’t new and service was possible under these circumstances. To make things worse, the ground crew mixed up gallons and kilograms, and the plane left Montreal with HALF the amount of fuel needed!
And the crew wasn’t aware of it ….
Fortunately, all passengers and crew members survived. The pilots managed to glide the plan down to the nearest airport – with zero engine power.
Never make assumptions when you have no evidence, and when an incorrect assumption could turn into a nightmare for you!
Be very cautious about making assumptions in your projects, too!
When you’re unsure about something being true or not, then clarify:
“OK, I understood we’re having this problem, but the issue existed for at least a week and we can still fly the plane safely to Edmonton. Did I understand you correctly?”
Rather than filling in the blanks by making assumptions, clarify those points you are not clear about.
Your project management coach,