Captain Ahab searched for his lost son and found this instead! (photo from Wikipedia)
My spellcheck doesn’t recognize incidentalomas, but the New York Times had an essay yesterday (March 8, 2013) “Our Wait And See Culture” by Dr. Robert J. Abramson based on this term. I was thinking it might have applicability in PM in: Risk Management / Debugging / Requirements Gathering, and more.
Quoting Dr. Abramson:
“Unexpected finds — which the medical community has defined as ‘incidentalomas'”
He writes about how the heavy increase in scanning procedures (XRAYs, MRIs, sonograms) has resulted in early detection of many issues which were NOT what the scan was originally searching for. E.G., a patient goes in for a chest xray to make sure there’s no TB, but a tumor is discovered (incidentally) which hopefully will turn out to be benign.
- Q. Can the concept of incidentalomas apply to Project Management?
- Q. Have you ever done Risk Identification, where Risk A has led you to consider Risk B?
- Q. Has trying to solve a software bug ever led you to discover a more important bug?
In the article, Dr. Abramson compares this phenomenon to the classic story of Moby Dick,
where Ahab was searching for his lost son and accidentally found his great nemesis instead.
— If this idea of “Incidentalomas” rings true for an incident in your PM experience, please share in a Comment below.
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