Letter to PM: Dangers of The Comfort Zone
We don’t like to hear it. We often have strong reasons and actively deny it. We project managers procrastinate in comfort zones.
There is a lot of talk on the Internet about comfort zones. Talking about getting outside and improving. The concept is not something I like. It does explain what happens from time to time, however.
“Why is that guy insisting that I need a Project Charter? They didn’t help me at all. This is textbook theory. It doesn’t apply to my actual project.
This sounds familiar? This one might be familiar?
“I know that I should be doing risk management properly. But I have to finish the chapter. Okay, I will finish it the next time.
Or something more aggressive.
“Why should I do something if it works fine now?”
This is procrastination from the comfort zone.
It might seem contradictory, I get that. You need to complete a project within the constraints. You should also spend time improving your project management skills. You should try new methods, tools, and techniques. You don’t know if they will work for you.
But get me right. I’m trying not to offend anyone by saying that you should have basic skills and knowledge beyond your comfort zone. It is mandatory.
This blog is a sign that you are trying to get out of your comfort zone. At least for a while. You will eventually find your passion and expand your horizons. You will eventually return to your comfort zone. It is okay to take a break and reflect on what you have learned.
There are signs and symptoms of procrastination you should be aware. It is time to act when you notice that your behavior has changed. These are the three main symptoms.
You don’t take responsibility
You are not proactive when you are in your comfort zone. While you may be aware of the problem areas, you don’t spend the time to analyze and investigate them. The worst area is the one you least expect to be a disaster. You will most often say that there was no way of preventing or mitigating the problem.
You should never admit that it was your fault. Your project management approach worked well for the last few months (maybe even a year), so the problems you are facing are force majors, something that is really unpredictable.
Always be defensive
Every once in a while, you will get some advice from someone. Your boss may want to see some changes. Perhaps a colleague will share some useful information. You will most likely keep the things as they are. You should do nothing.
I will put in a lot of effort to make a negative perception of something that isn’t within my comfort zone. To avoid making changes! These efforts should be used more productively. It is difficult to determine if you are making unbiased decisions in most cases.
Once you are settled, you don’t want anyone telling you what is wrong or how to improve it. Mentors are not something you should seek out. They are however the most valuable source for feedback.
You don’t share your knowledge
If you don’t believe sharing knowledge is essential, open PMBOK Guide and search “lessons learned” or “organizational processes assets”. Knowledge of past projects is a key input in key processes.
There are two stages. The first stage is where you don’t share knowledge, because you don’t apply it. Fear of simple questions that might follow. “Have you tried that?” What did it work for you? Your answers will be defensive. Remember? You just discovered an interesting piece of information. You didn’t spend the time to analyze it, test it or delegate. Why worry?
You don’t share because you don’t have anything to share in the second stage. You are so far behind your environment that there is nothing you can do.