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Breaking the Galilean Spell

"Even deeper than emergence and its challenge to reductionism in this new scientific worldview is what I call breaking the Galilean spell. Galileo rolled balls down incline planes and showed that the distance traveled varied as the square of the time elapsed. From this he obtained a universal law of motion. Newton followed with his Principia, setting the stage for all of modern science. With these triumphs, the Western world came to the view that all that happens in the universe is governed by natural law. Indeed, this is the heart of reductionism. Another Nobel laureate physicist, Murray Gell-Mann, has defined a natural law as a compressed description, available beforehand, of the regularities of a phenomenon. The Galilean spell that has driven so much science is the faith that all aspects of the natural world can be described by such laws. Perhaps my most radical scientific claim is that we can and must break the Galilean spell. Evolution of the biosphere, human economic life, and human history are partially indescribable by natural law. This claim flies in the face of our settled convictions since Galileo, Newton, and the Enlightenment."


Whatever else you're reading, you just gotta read this. It's gorgeous!!


Thermostat Wars

The fourth installment of my Unlearning Project Management--The Control Dilemma--series has been posted. Here's the link.

Question of the day: What does the following video have to do with unlearning?


Discovering Your Wisdom

This posting is the promised Part Two of What Everyone Should Understand About True North's Mastering Projects Workshop.

Read that posting before you read this one, to get the contiguous story!

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Finally, we invite people to bring themselves to the workshop. Not the role you play or the title you display, but your shoes-off self. To arrive skeptical if you are skeptical. Optimistic if you are optimistic. Curious if you are curious.

We invite you to bring yourself to the workshop because I noticed, after attending many workshops, that I usually didn’t show up. I sent who I was supposed to be in my stead, and this surrogate postured and posed, and stayed in his head where no situated learning could really penetrate. If managing projects is a continuing act of self discovery, then bringing your self to the effort seems necessary, essential.

Slip over here for more ...


Don't Task, Don't Tell

The third installment of my Projects@Work Unlearning Project Management series, Don't Task, Don't Tell, has been posted. Follow this link, (mildly annoying registration required.)

I wish I could claim credit for the snappy title, but that is the work of P@W's fine editor, Aaron Smith.

The picture accompanying this posting comes from the final exercise of our Mastering Projects Workshop, where after two and a half days deeply considering how projects work, participants are assigned a planning exercise where traditional Management By Planning approaches fail. Few groups fail to create meaning with this experience, and none who succeed do so in ways they imagined beforehand. This installment considers alternatives to Management By Planning.

The first two installments generated a lot of comments. This one hasn't. Don't know why, but I'll appreciate any bark-back you might feel moved to post there.

Here's a taste of the content:

"Management By Planning, carried to its naturally recursive root, enlists every member of a project’s community as a planning project manager, which is far from Fayol and Taylor’s original Management By Planning intent. Each interprets the plan they receive, producing a locally situated version. Whether the plan received is wise depends, again, upon the mindfulness of each situated planner. Whether the project manager is wise might depend more upon their ability to listen than their authority to dispatch pre-planned work assignments.

"In the Spanish viceroy system, a bureaucracy that lasted more than 500 years, each viceroy reported directly to the king. Communications being slow in those days, a dispatch from the king, responding to a viceroy’s report, could take more than a year to reach an individual viceroy. So, the viceroys adopted a simple rule for interpreting directions from the king — The King Is Wise. This rule encouraged each local viceroy to interpret the king’s direction in some way that would preserve the apparent wisdom of the king, even if this meant utterly changing his specific instructions."


Unlearning Project Management (2)

What do you see in this picture? And what does this picture have to do with unlearning project management? See the second installment of my Unlearning Project Management.


Did You Serve?

Amy and I attended an Association of University Women pot luck where we were the only non-retired people. I learned that I was also the only non-veteran there as well. One of the attendees is a semi-retired colonel with the Corps of Engineers, and over dinner, war stories started floating around the table. These weren't stories of heroics or high ideals, but the dumb crap that every soldier in the history of the world has experienced. Slip over here for more ...

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