Thursday, December 29, 2011

Applying Broken Window Theory to Project Management

The broken windows theory is a criminology theory of the norm setting and signaling effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior. The theory states that monitoring and maintaining urban environments in a well-ordered condition may stop further vandalism as well as an escalation into more serious crime.

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

Do we know what determines our behavior? A major factor in determining individual behavior is social norms; Humans constantly monitor other people and their environment in order to determine what the correct norms are for the given situation. People do as others do and the group makes sure that the rules are followed.

How this helps Project Manager? It teaches that Project manager must follow principle of Zero Tolerance, problems crop up when we begins to tolerate constant non conformance. The more we turn a blind eye to problems, the more problems crop up. We need to follow Zero tolerance policy by examining every incident of non conformance, we need to ensure that broken windows are fixed and that recurrences are rare in the Project.

All Project commitments need to be tracked and it should not be acceptable to slip commitments for even small tasks. Task tacking tools (like one I made using goolgle apps , and it is free) should be used to ensure complete tracking of due tasks . Project Manager needs to ensure that task slippages are tracked and fixed else it will become norm.

References :

No comments:

Post a Comment