I recently had my first negative visceral reaction to seeing a Microsoft Project plan in a meeting and I’m both frightened by it and sort of proud of it.

Visceral – characterized by or proceeding from instinct rather than intellect: A visceral reaction

I’m surprised that I got worked up over something so simple – something that I’ve seen a hundred times.  After all, the project plan (and manager) was certainly well intentioned even if the project plan in my opinion wasn’t needed for such a short iterative development project.  I focused too much on the negative aspects of it too quickly and not for the value that it added.  It was a mistake to allow myself to get unnecessarily distracted by it’s existence.  It was a good self-awareness moment.

But…on the other hand I’m proud of my reaction because it’s an indication that my instincts are changing.  At one point in my early career I used to be a fan of massive upfront planning and creating beautiful project plans…and I’ve certainly built many in my day.  But as I’ve learned how software actually gets created my focus has shifted much more to progressive elaboration, more to creating product roadmaps and backlogs, and more to allowing the team to create and learn along the way.  Project plans just don’t have a place in my heart the way they used to…and I’m proud of that.