How to Make Assumptions...Without Being an A** [TED Thursday]
This is the third in a series of three TED Tuesdays in which I'll feature Derek Sivers. (Here are Part 1 and Part 2.)
Every aspect of project management involves communicating with stakeholders. Recently I posted and article on how to effectively communicate ideas. In that post, one of the techniques is to relate your idea to concepts with which your audience is familiar.
This assumes you know with what your audience is familiar.
We share base assumptions with stakeholders, and we don't even think about them: culture, language, and societal values. For the most part these assumptions are valid. However, I started to wonder: what assumptions do we make that aren't valid?
When communicating with a stakeholder, I'll sometimes unconsciously assume things, such as:
- Match between their skills and what they're being asked to do
- Technical competence or understanding
- Familiarity with my project and its goals
- Familiarity with my company's culture, or my office's culture, or my team's dynamic
- Understanding of the tools and workflows I use
Sometimes I'll go on for weeks before I discover one of my assumptions was false. So what about the decisions that are made under false assumptions? Do they need to be evaluated?
In this talk, Derek uses real-world examples to show that even false assumptions can be true depending on the context. This is a powerful (if slightly confusing) concept.
I assume that by clicking this link, you will find the next three minutes of your life entertaining and informative.
Derek Sivers and the Context of Assumptions
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