Be careful with models

by , under Uncategorized

It is important to understand that a model is not the
reality. It is rather – by definition – a scaled down and simplified version of
the reality it represents. Models are useful, because reality is too complex
for us to comprehend it directly. Simplification – limiting the number of
variables and cause-effect chains – helps our understanding. But we should be
aware that models – no matter how beautiful and enticing – are not reality.

Why I take your precious time to state something so obvious?
Especially on a blog about leadership?

I think it is important, because all methods, practices and
methodologies that you encounter are based on models. PMBOK, PRINCE-2, Scrum,
ITIL etc. are all built on top of a model. It is a model of a project or a
software development team or an IT organization respectively – but it is still
just a model. When applying this or that framework – or just evaluating it – it
is a good idea to consider how well the model it is based on applies to your reality. Chances are even if it
very closely resembles your situation there are some differences – and this
means in the end you will have to find your own solution, your own version and
your own model. Frameworks etc. can help you, but most probably you will have
to adjust them. It is therefore, I think, a good idea to look at them primarily
as a source of inspiration rather than ready-to-use recipes.

Complex frameworks and methodologies are usually modular by
design, as their creators understood not every element will be applicable in
all real life situations. Small and simple methods don’t’ usually leave much
room for adjustment, they have to be applied as a whole and then maybe will
evolved into something slightly different in your particular environment.

Being aware of the above is – I think – important because in
the enthusiasm following discovering ‘new, super model that solves all the
problems’ this is frequently overlooked. Thinking the new paradigm or
methodology leaders just rush to “implement” them in their organizations – instead
of thinking first if and where a given method might be helpful.


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