I often hear people say, “I don’t have enough time.” Or, “We don’t have enough testers.” Or, “I don’t have enough authority or influence to do what I want to do.”
That’s scarcity thinking.
You’re right. You don’t have enough to do things the way you always have done them or would like to do them. What else can you do?
I meet people who tell me, “I don’t have enough time to write as much as you do.” I ask them how they write. They tell me they need hours to sit in from of their computers or a notebook. I tell them I write in 10-minute chunks. I like writing in longer chunks, but I often don’t have those longer time blocks available. Only when we’re on vacation :-) They look or sound astonished. I have had to adapt how I write to the time I have available.
If you don’t have enough testers, what else can you do? Can you change the way you organize the projects or the teams? Can you sit down with the team and say, “Look, I’m the only tester and I’m worried about the testing. If we do the testing the way we always have, we’ll have a bottleneck.” Maybe you create a kanban board to show the flow of work and let people see the backup of work. You could say, “Is there another way we could work? Could we do reviews or pair or swarm or change something else about the way we develop our product? I’m open to suggestions. I’m quite worried.”
I meet leaders, projects managers, and managers who tell me they want to change things. Then they say, “I don’t have the influence or authority to change things.”
I’m a do-first, ask-permission later person. That has its own problems. But what you can do is the same thing when you don’t have enough people. You can gather some of the people affected by the problem, and say, “We have this problem. Here’s the manifestation of it. I’d like your help fixing it. Can you help me think of ways to fix it that are acceptable here?” Now, you’ve involved people so that they will help you build influence with you.
You don’t have to think of “The Solution” by yourself. That’s scarcity thinking, too.
There is never enough time for everything you want to do. You never have enough people for all the work you want to accomplish. You never have enough influence to do what you want to do.
You need to squiggle your way around the solution you originally considered.
What will you do?
Scarcity thinking prevents us from living full lives. This week, dear adaptable problem solvers, our question is: Are you sure you don’t have enough?
- Who Makes the Choices in Your Life?
- Are You Taking Time to Think?