23 October 2007

Cumulative Advantage and Managing Change

When you are managing projects (or requirements) in a large complex stakeholder environment you just know that dealing with people is going to be the hardest part of the job.

Ever wondered about why people work well or not so well with your project (or it's requirements)? Why they put up objections or get on board? Or what oils the wheels of organisational politics?

Here is an article by Duncan J Watts on the topic of Cumulative Advantage – it investigates the influence of markets (and communities) on decision making.

What do people want? It’s largely affected by what they think other people want. You can use this when managing change, or working to get stakeholders on board with your project’s requirements/scope/objectives.

Read the article, come back here and tell me if you think it’s a useful piece of information.

I picked up on this article care of Seth Godin’s blog. Duncan J. Watts is a professor of sociology at Columbia University and the author of “Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age.”


  1. Anonymous5:53 am

    An interesting article, thanks for pointing it out! Although projects aren't like playgrounds we could use the same techniques to build buy-in. Harry Potter, for example, grew in popularity through word of mouth. Many teachers I know found out about the book before the hype really started as the children in their schools were passing it around. When something is worth reading, doing or listening to (Justin Timberlake? Each to his own...) then it will find an audience if there is a movement to support it. This article seems to support the argument for guerrilla project management - convincing people the project is a good idea by encouraging their peers to evangelize.

  2. Thanks for dropping by Elizabeth.

    Convincing pople that the project shuld go ahead? Maybe. Definietly a way of shortcutting sme of the requirements management legwork.

    But you need to do it with finesse. Everyone has to have their say along the way.