Some time ago, I wrote about John, the fictive trekking leader, who came to fame and glory out of ignorance, and drew parallels to project management today. As it turns out, I didn’t have to invent a fictive story to illustrate the situation – there is an astounding historical example that backs it up 100%.
On this terrific Wikipedia page about common misconceptions, I found this:
Christopher Columbus‘s efforts to obtain support for his voyages were not hampered by a European belief in a flat Earth. In fact, sailors and navigators of the time knew that the Earth was spherical, but (correctly) disagreed with Columbus’ estimates of the distance to the Indies (see Flat Earth). If the Americas did not exist and the Earth was the same size in this hypothetical situation, and Columbus had continued to the Indies (even putting aside the threat of mutiny he was under) he would have run out of supplies before reaching them at the rate he was traveling. The intellectual class had known that the earth was round since Ancient Greece.
Wow! So, Columbus was a dumb a*s, lacking the experience and skills to accurately estimate the distances himself, and arrogant enough to ignore what others have told him, and which has been known for generations at that! It was by pure incidence that he ever got anywhere!
Much like John… 😉
Now, all of you working people who’s daily business is to work in projects: Does this remind you of a situation you have been in yourself? How many of you have worked under or with “Columbian Project Management” yet? What are your experiences?
If you have a story to tell, I’d like to hear about it!
Cheers and heads up!