Episode transcript The transcript is generated automatically by Podscribe, Sonix, Otter and other electronic transcription services.
Hello everyone. Welcome to the 5 Minutes podcast. Today I'd like to discuss why many times we like to look for very complex, very cumbersome solutions for problems where simpler, much easier solutions are available and why many times we do not use what is called Occam's Razor to analyze the options we have and decide with parsimony. Let me go back and talk about Occam's Razor. Occam's Razor is a logical principle that when you try to explain some event and when you have a choice between two different explanations for that event and both of them are good, you should always opt for the simpler one. And this is a principle developed by the English philosopher William de Occam in the 14th century. So we are not talking about something new, and it's called the Principle of Parsimony. In this principle, it said that it's in vain to do with more what can be done with fewer. And this for me one example that I think it's a perfect explanation of that is this concept of conspiracy theories. And most of these theories do not survive Occam's Razor. So, let's try to think about flat earth, or let's try to think about no humans have landed on the moon. There are two possibilities, for example, landing on the moon. One, the men landed on the moon, or two, the man did not land on the moon and probably maybe 100, 150,000 people. They did, and they combined it, and they created a conspiracy to hide this from the general public.
All of them, not Austria, every single one controlling the one that was building the fake spacecraft, the one at the Smithsonian Museum that has this model that faked everything. Imagine 150 people trying to hide something. Look, between us; it's so hard to keep a secret from two people. It's easy for one of them to leak. Imagine 150 that none of them, at any point in their life, decided to say; I will disclose everything. Look, these are the real images. And this, why? And if we go to Occam's razor, we'll see that trying to explain an event with these two options, our common sense should opt for the simpler one. And this is why, for example, one of the biggest enemies of conspiracy theories is Occam’s Razor. And you may ask why I'm saying this in a podcast that is mostly related to projects and initiatives because we forget these Razor many times. Many times we try to justify a crisis with this absolutely insane reasoning to justify something or a risk or a risk response, or why, for example, your project failure is a failure. So many times you try to say, Oh, there is the conspiracy, the government, these all of them, all my competitors, they tried to blackmail me and make them. You should try to look for simpler answers. For example, most of the projects, and based on my experience, do not fail because, you know, extraterrestrial aliens reach your project, and it's still everything. I have never heard that. You know one thing, most of the time, your project fails just because your supplier is unable to plant properly in order to deliver the goods and the services on time to you. Or because your team thinks that their productivity level is 100%, that nobody used the toilet, that nobody goes to have lunch, that nobody gets sick, that everybody produces at 100%. Or you always think that your computer will never fail, that any tools will break.
This is why projects fail. They don't fail because of this absolutely complex reasoning. And if you have this, try to think with parsimony. I'm not saying that any complex answer is suitable. No, but always try to understand there is a simpler way of doing this. This is why, for example, every time I explain, and I like very much teaching and talking, I say the good teacher is not a teacher that knows a lot but a teacher that knows how to explain in the simplest possible way a topic that is not so simple. And this is the basic concept of the Occam's Razor. So always, when you are facing a challenge in your project, choose the simple answers and the simple options. Most of the time, they will sort out your problem much easier than thinking in this; for example, if an employee goes out, you think, oh, there is a whole conspiracy theory to put my project in trouble. No, he's just leaving because he probably found something better to work on. Think about that, and see you next week with another 5 Minutes Podcast.