Change seems to be inevitable now more than ever. We start down one path, but then circumstances are different, and we’re unsure if we’re still on the right path.
If you’ve ever known you need to make a change, but you’re feeling the weight of how much work you’ve already put in, this article is for you as we discuss:
How do you navigate a change when you’ve already invested a lot in the current plan?
Because if you don’t do anything and keep moving in the same direction, it’s only going to get worse. Let’s explore the sunk cost fallacy and see how to understand the impact of our emotions in this kind of situation. Then we’ll walk through the steps for making such a change.
Avoiding the sunk cost fallacy is easier said than done, but here are two strategies to help you.
The more we’ve invested in something, the harder it is to shift away from it. Holding regular reviews helps you evaluate where you are frequently, thus minimizing the amount of change needed. Short review cycles also may mean you have a series of iterative changes rather than one big change.
I’ve seen numerous teams benefit from implementing Scrum because it allows the team regularly evaluate and adjust. Whether through daily stand-ups or sprint retrospectives, the team is always keeping things visible, evaluating and replanning. It’s the difference between minor adjustments to the steering wheel to keep a car on track versus the sharp overcorrecting turns of a new driver.
Short review cycles also may mean you have a series of iterative changes rather than one big change.
Keeping the cycles short reduces how much has been sunk into the current course. The sooner the change is made, the less power the sunk cost fallacy has.
While you can and should learn from the past, you cannot change it. The effort, time, or money you’ve invested is already spent, and taking ownership of this reality is crucial to moving forward.
Sometimes it’s simply saying aloud to the team, “When we started the project, we looked at factors X and Y and decided to do Z, but now things have changed, and Z is not the right strategy for reaching our goal.”
The sooner the change is made, the less power the sunk cost fallacy has.
So often, bringing the truth out into the light disarms all the lies we’re tempted to believe. All of the “you should’ve…” and “if only…” statements shame us into submission and keep us stuck on the same path.
But when you take ownership of the decisions made and the outcomes and call them what they are, then you can set them down and turn your attention to what’s ahead.
Putting the past behind you is the biggest challenge to changing direction. Now we’ll look at how to lead in a new direction.
Did you know Scrum applies to more than just developing code?
When you understand the essentials of Scrum and the nuance of how to apply it, you can use it to level up aspects of everyday life.