Monday, February 18, 2008

Motorcycle Maintenance

I pulled out the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. I had originally read it back in college and was curious to see how I related to the book at this stage in my life.

The book discusses the meaning of quality. As project managers, we can pull out our PMBOK and see what it says about quality from a project management perspective, but is that it?

One point he brings up early has to do with "what has gone wrong in the 20th century." He goes on to say that when we hurry something along, we no longer care about it and just want to get on to the next thing.

How often do we rush through something like our weekly status report or some test case we're working on? We're thinking about the future instead of being in the moment, as Zen philosophy would advise us. So next time you're trying to rush through things, stop, take a deep breath, and concentrate on the moment at hand. The future is just an illusion; the past just electrical impulses in our brain. It's only the present moment that counts.

On a side note, the book was reportedly rejected by 121 publishers before finally being published. That's a lesson in persistence! It's now described as the most widely read philosophy book.

2 comments:

paul_r_ritchie said...

Hi Bob,
Good stuff...we are pretty much stuck living in the moment. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn't here yet. Acceptance of these facts is the key to much about life and PM (what is the difference?).

Best,
Paul
http://crossderry.wordpress.com

George Pitagorsky said...

Bob,
Living in the moment requires a practice to cultivate the mindfulness and concentration to be present as opposed to being caught up in the blur of day to day activity. Understanding plus experience that cuts through concept to personal realization and wisdom, that is Zen as I understand it.
Best, George