Often as I’m working with an organization, managers and executives want to standardize new practices even before they have tried them. When I ask what standardizing will do for them, they say, “It will allow us to move people easily from one project to another.”

This puzzles me, for three reasons.

First, I haven’t seen organizations move people from project to project very often. Even if standardizing helps move people around, you won’t get that benefit if you don’t actually move people around.

Second, I don’t know whether “standardizing practices” helps move people from project to project. I’m not saying it doesn’t help. I’m saying that I don’t know.

Third, I’m not sure whether “standardizing practices” actually standardizes the practices in any meaningful way.

Given all of this, I suspect that “allowing us to move people around” is not the real reason for standardizing. If I’m right about that, what might the real reasons be?