A term I use quite a bit when I’m teaching a class is ‘artificial constraints’ – those barriers we put up in our head that are non-existent. For example, sometimes I walk into a class and the table for my ‘stuff’ is in the wrong place and I walk around it for an hour before I remember that I can move it.
I see it often in my classes or in workshops as well. Participants are seated at a table, and when they are looking at the presentation, they crane their neck instead of turning their chair so they can be more comfortable.
Sometimes, I think we like to complain instead of removing the barrier.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were driving to Arizona to relocate for the remainder of the winter – we like to escape Calgary’s worst months of snow and cold. My husband decided we needed to leave on Wednesday, but there was no real reason for it. It’s a 3-day drive and we had 5 days before we were due to check into our place.
We drove 10 hrs the first day, and another 9 the next. I was ok with this because once we started driving, I wanted to get out of the snow as soon as possible. I hate driving in blizzards, and the roads were not too bad. However, we still had 3 days before we could check in…. and he was still in a hurry to get there. I couldn’t figure that out, but decided it was something in his brain… he couldn’t stop. I had to point out the obvious (at least to me), and only then did we stop and enjoy some of the surroundings.
Artificial acceleration – the need to hurry… even when you don’t have to. Is this what your team does? I have heard teams complain that their Product Owner (PO) is always in a rush to get a feature out, but when I ask the PO that question, they deny it. They say they go with what the team can do.
Does your team create these artificial acceleration deadlines without realizing it? Are you more comfortable leaving things the way they are? Instead – stop and ask! Is this a real constraint or is it artificial? You may be your own worst enemy.