Project Portfolio Management, IT Financial Management Blog

What does it feel like to be wrong?

I just finished watching Kathryn Schulz’s TED talk – “On being wrong” and when she asked the audience – “what does it feel like to be wrong?”  I was taken back and surprised by the answer.  


Yep, I was wrong too. 



Being wrong and making mistakes are common.  In an earlier blog post, I suggested that having a good lessons learned mechanism could help a project learn from the organization’s past.  Why relearn the lessons you’ve already learned?



But, when Kathryn goes on to explain that before you realize that your wrong, being wrong feels just like being right, I could only smile at the wisdom and simplicity of what she was suggesting.  It happens all the time.  (it might be happening right now)


Then, I read Robert Kelly’s post in Kelly’s Contemplation, where he describes his recent embarrassing experience where he made a mistake on a recent project that caused another team to have to put in extra effort to rectify.  (But, I don’t think he should have been embarrassed.)


So, on your projects and in your portfolio – what does it feel like when you’re wrong?  

  • When your requirements are wrong, (never happens does it?)
  • When the executive sponsor is wrong (contrary to popular opinion, they are not immune from being wrong), or
  • When the whole project is wrong?  (see Top Product Failures for a few examples, or the recent Business week article about product failures and how to prevent them.)

I think there are two things to take away:


  1. Accept and embrace the fact that sometimes YOU ARE WRONG and you don’t know it. 
    (though, the rest of us might..:-)   )  
    It’s OK to be wrong, making mistakes is what happens when you push the envelope and try to innovate.  Get over the stigma and plan for mistakes.  Frankly if you don’t encourage people to fail, then they won’t take any risks or try anything new.   How sad.

  2. Commit to continuous learning and growth.   Failing alone isn’t acceptable to me, it’s when our failures lead to growth, improvement and success is what is exciting.

 Learn how to fail. So you can learn how to succeed.


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About the Author(s)
  • Brian is a Product Marketing Manager for Application Development Management Solutions with and previously for Project and Application Portfolio Management, with extensive experience in presales and implementation roles.
  • This account is for guest bloggers. The blog post will identify the blogger.
  • I help IT leaders to understand how well IT is performing from a business perspective.
  • Evangelist for IT Financial Management (ITFM), IT Governance and IT Portfolio Management, consulting IT organisations for Close to 15 years on principles of good governance.
  • WW Sr Product Marketing Manager for HP ITPS VP of Apps & HP Load Runner
  • Vesna is the senior product marketing manager at HP Software. She has been with HP for 13 years in R&D, product management and product marketing. At HP she is responsible for go to market and enablement of the HP IT Performance Suite products.
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