that could have happened" .... this is the creed of Open Spaces:
"Whatever Happens is the Only Thing that Could have Happened"
To some people, this saying sounds ludicrous, and honestly when I first heard it I laughed. Since the time I first heard it a few years ago at the first Open Spaces I attended, it seems more true every day.
Obviously there are no absolutes in life. Self help books are one of the most popular categories in nonfiction but there is very little progress, why is this? Perhaps because there is a difference between wanting your problems to go away and being ambitious & forward thinking enough for the fix.
One of the first books that I read early in my career was Code Complete and the Software Project Survival Guide. Both were good books however the psychology of a project team is not often a discussed topic. The purpose of this creed and the point behind Open Spaces is empowerment. When people are empowered they will make the most honest decisions, work harder and be happier.
So why don't we do this more often and why does the word "deadline" even exist since it's only used to drive fear? I asked a question on Twitter not too long ago, it was: "serious question, have you ever seen a project that was on time, on schedule and on budget (within the original scope)?". Not one response from someone saying, "yes, we did". One reply sums this up from @sdether "@kibbled_bits I've yet to see a product that finished with original scope".
Do projects ever finish on time, scope & budget? It's probably very uncommon but I'm sure it has happened before. The magical question is why the mass delusion? Collectively, programmers, analysts & project managers on any team have been on dozens of projects that have been late, over budget or delivered with less scope.
Do we all suffer from a God complex, thinking we can fix everything with the power of our brains and refuse to accept the things that are outside of our control? Or is the pressure of accepting the reality so great that denying the ultimate reality is easier than dealing with the pressure of knowing that you aren't tracking or worse, that you will miss the target.
Agile projects are the reality, whether you are practicing this discipline or not. The only thing that is released is the only thing that could have been released. Unfortunately, this mindset is hard for some to accept so you can either accept the reality or keep living in the dark.