An article in Wired about near misses in accident research says ‘Studies have shown that the more often someone gets away with risky behavior, the more likely they are to repeat it; there is a sort of invincibility complex”. There’s a ‘I got away with this time, I’ll get away with it next time’ thought in our heads which leads us to continue the risky behavior.
Common sense tells us that if we continue to cross the road against the red light, eventually we may well get hit by a car. Somehow we don’t apply that to our work. In my experience, I’m often ready to be finished and move on, and I don’t hotwash my own actions, even though I know reviews and checklists for the future are helpful.
One way to get round this is to add ‘hotwash’ to your project plan. The project isn’t done until the hotwash is done AND the findings have been added to your checklist for the project the next time. Whether it’s a simple hour long job you do each week or a five year project, making sure that you don’t take unnecessary risks next time is an important part of the project.