I owe the inspiration to this one to the BOFH (Bastard Operator From Hell) – you can read the current episode here – worth going through the archives if you haven’t come across this before.
Anyway, if you bother to read the comments, the wondrous phrase “Thinking outside the box” comes up, largely with respect to project management. Now, if you have worked in IT for a while, this should make you laugh. Using the phrase “thinking outside the box” within IT is, to be blunt, a tautology. It is what the job is about. It is what we are paid for. The essence of the job is to find solutions for a problem, and this means finding solutions that are NOT obvious – choosing the obvious ones is easy.
To put it another way, it’s a bit like a Formula 1 driver selling themself as being able to “drive fast and not crash” – it’s the basic skill you expect them to use, that is, after all what you are paying them for, and if they can’t do that bit, they may as well not bother.
So, next time you hear someone tell you how important thinking outside the box is, remind them that that is the basic skill, and, maybe, if they think that sets them apart from all the others vying for your business, they are not as skilled as they think they are.