Agnotology

headsand


I am about to offend you.


Do you have all of the data, information, knowledge, and wisdom you need to make your project decisions? Are you missing something? In a way, I’m asking what could be interpreted as a very offensive question: “are you ignorant”?
But I’m using ignorance in its truest sense – lacking the proper knowledge or information.
Happy New Year! I certainly don’t mean to offend. I’m actually sharing a very interesting article from BBC Future, which discusses the science of agnotology.  This is the science and study of ‘culturally induced ignorance’ such as when the tobacco industry clouded the science around tobacco and lung cancer so that people remained ignorant of the connection.
The story features Robert Proctor, a science historian who has studied the ‘spread of ignorance’.  Per the article:

“Proctor found that ignorance spreads when firstly, many people do not understand a concept or fact and secondly, when special interest groups – like a commercial firm or a political group – then work hard to create confusion about an issue. In the case of ignorance about tobacco and climate change, a scientifically illiterate society will probably be more susceptible to the tactics used by those wishing to confuse and cloud the truth.
Consider climate change as an example. “The fight is not just over the existence of climate change, it’s over whether God has created the Earth for us to exploit, whether government has the right to regulate industry, whether environmentalists should be empowered, and so on. It’s not just about the facts, it’s about what is imagined to flow from and into such facts,” says Proctor.”

 

(Blogger’s Note: the photo associated with this post actually comes from a form of social expression in Australia in which hundreds literally buried their heads in the sand on Bondi Beach to mock Prime Minster Tony Abbott on his denial view of climate change science)

The connection to us as project, program, and portfolio managers, of course, is that whatever our political beliefs, we cannot tolerate (or perhaps put more realistically, afford) to be ignorant. We have to be connected – as connected as possible – to the facts, whether they be the latest report from a subcontractor, the budget results, or, yes, climate change. Even if you disagree with the science or are dubious about the way in which it is presented, understand the way in which others are processing the information, and take that as a fact – as information – as knowledge.
In any case, have a look at the article – it’s fascinating to learn about a whole science dedicated to the idea of what we don’t know and why we don’t know it.
Learning about what we don’t know and why – and even more importantly, learning how we can prevent our own ignorance – is simply best-practice project management.

There’s actually an assessment tool to check on your level of awareness on sustainability issues in your projects, programs, and portfolios, called The Sustainability Wheel™ in our new book, “Driving Project, Program, and Portfolio Success“.  Check it out (both the book and the assessment tool).

Using the Sustainability Radar™ from our tool, you can find out if you are a Fearless Leader, or (gasp) an Efficient Bamboozler, or one of dozens of other types.  And more importantly, there is coaching to help reverse any gaps.

 

See below.

sustradar

 

 

 

 

Check out Sustainability Radar™ in our new book.

With that, we’d like to wish you an Agnotologically Correct Happy New Year!

What is Project Management’s biggest challenge?

The 200th PM Podcast features video interviews with 20 PM Thought Leaders

And we’re one of them.

 

 

 

 

Have a look at the press release below, and visit the segment in which we’re interviewed here.

Cornelius Fichtner, principal of the hugely successful podcast, asked us to contribute by answering his question:What’s the single biggest challenge to Project Management today“?

He features responses from people like:

  • Mark Langley, CEO of PMI
  • Peter Taylor, author of The Lazy Project Manager
  • Wayne Turmel, “the Cranky Middle Manager” podcast creator and host
  • Elizabeth Harrin, author and creator of “PM4Girls”
  • Stacy Goff from the American Society for the Advancement of PM (ASAPM)
  • Max Wideman, PM expert
  • and other top PM community members

Have a look!

We’re honored to be in that company!

SILVERADO, CA, November 29, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ — The 200th episode of The Project Management Podcast is released today, celebrating 6 years of bringing project management topics to beginners and experts.

The four-part episode includes interviews with twenty project management experts who all provide their unique opinions about the number-one challenge that project management is facing today.

“Our ‘bicentennial’ podcast both looks back at how far project management has come and reflects on the future,” says Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, President, OSP International LLC and host of The Project Management Podcast. “We are used to working with project management experts on the show, but this is our biggest interview podcast ever. I’m really pleased we have so many great contributions from industry leaders.”

The project management superstars sharing their expertise with listeners include Mark Perry, Peter Taylor, Margaret Meloni, Andy Kaufman, Elizabeth Harrin as well as the presidents of the three leading project management associations: Mark Langley (PMI), Roberto Mori (IPMA) and Stacy Goff (ASAPM). Serial author Max Wideman is also contributing. “Project management as a discipline is interesting because it consists of a number of integrated functional areas,” Wideman says in his podcast segment. “Some of these functions are comparatively well established, whereas other areas are but young neophytes and are not so responsive to the same approach. Project management may be about ‘getting things done’, but it is also about the process or manner of getting things done.”

The show has received nearly 6 million downloads and is available for free through iTunes or The Project Management Podcast website. “Podcasts are convenient, practical and a great way for people to learn new things,” Fichtner says. “Listeners tell me that they get a lot of benefit from the opportunity to hear different, and sometimes challenging, opinions. Even the experts we’ve interviewed for this episode are continually learning.”

OSP International LLC is a project management training company headquartered in Silverado, California, specializing in exceptional products to help candidates prepare for and maintain their PMP credential. OSP International LLC has been reviewed and approved as a provider of project management training by the Project Management Institute (PMI). As a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.), the company has agreed to abide by PMI established quality assurance criteria.

Sustainability Thinking Improves Project Management

“Sustainability Thinking Improves Project Management” – you’d think that would be something we’d say.

But besides being something we would say, it also is the name of a presentation given at the Queensland Chapter of the Project Management Institute a little less than a year ago.  We just found it today (okay, so we’re a little bit slow), but we’re ironically thrilled in a “great minds think alike” sort of way.

Andrew Wilford, the presenter, is a self-admitted engineer and PM who enjoyed a long career in the aerospace and defense, holding senior positions with Boeing Australia and Air New Zealand. He was also involved with the development of the Complex Project Management competency Standards that have been adopted by the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation. As Clinical Associate Professor of Project Management at Bond University’s Mirvac School of Sustainable Development, Mr Wilford is currently researching project management capability models, leadership systems, complex network-centric operations and the application of sustainability principles in project management.

So we’re glad that he’s covering this topic publicly and well.

PMI’ Queensland chapter has graciously shared the presentation slides here, and you can see a video of the presentation here.

And so, from down under, it’s over and out.