O'Reilly logo

The Art of Project Management by Scott Berkun

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

5.6. Perspective and improvisation

On a dare from Ayca Yuksel and Vanessa Longacre, two former co-workers at Microsoft, the three of us enrolled in an improvisational comedy class at a community college. After only the first day, I learned that my terror at the proposition of being funny on command was entirely unfounded. I discovered that most people, if they learn how to pay attention (which the class taught us to do), can find humor in many ordinary situations. It's all about learning to see the things that often go unnoticed, and making connections between them.

When I returned back to work and the world of projects and designs, I realized that the same was true about problem solving. Good problem solvers notice things other people don't. They see more detail, make more associations, and have more depth of perception to draw on to find connections between things. In an interview in Wired magazine, Steve Jobs had this great piece of creative commentary:

To design something really well you have to get it. You have to really grok what it's all about. It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something—chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don't take the time to do that. Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask a creative person how they did something, they may feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after awhile. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required