I just had the pleasure of reading an old blog entry by Seth Godin on the art of coin flipping. Part of my daily duties would be classified as “project management,” but I would argue so would everyone else’s, even it means we project manage our own work load. However, I digress.
As a “typical project manager,” aka one who manages web related projects from inception to completion a lot of the time your job revolves around decision making. Do we? Don’t we? Should we bring ____ into the discussion at this point? Is that in-line with the strategy? Yada, yada, yada. Their a billion decisions to make on any given day which all add up to how well the project works/doesn’t work at the end of the day.
After reading this blog post about how Seth and his colleagues decided upon the pricing of a new piece of software going on the market in the early-‘80’s by filliping a coin, I got to thinking. Per the blog entry, “We talked for an hour and then did the only intelligent thing–we flipped a coin. To be sure we had it right, we double checked and flipped two out of three. The only mistake we made was wasting an hour pontificating and arguing before we flipped.”
How often do project managers, decision makers I respect and trust just go with their gut or flip a coin? How often do I do it myself? While I inherently hate gambling and therefore I am not a coin flipper I do go with my gut a lot of the time on important decisions. At some point you have to take a step into the unkown/off the ledge/etc. and try something. The key as I see it is twofold:
- Have you prepared as best you can? Do you feel like there is nothing else you can learn to better inform your decision?
- Are you going to make sure you learn something from this process err regardless if you succeed or fail?
If the answer is yes to both take a few steps to get a running start and jump! You may fall flat on your face immediately, you may float through the air before you land hard or you might stay afloat and soar to the moon. Either way you have to take a chance and you have to evaluate your progress along the way, good or bad. Life is nothing but one large learning experience. Are you flipping the coin? What are you learning?