This was a pretty well written post about how very messed up practices end up normalized. The answer is a weird combinatin of over optimism, rationalization and adaption. And when a messed up practice gets normalized it is very hard to see what's wrong with it.
A very simply solution that Atul Gawande talked about in the Checklist Manifesto is to have a checklist. In the book he compared the medical sector and infrastucture/construction sector. Both fields are immensely complex but medicial practitioners often end up making terrible mistakes, which includes cases like the one where a surgen forgot her equipment in the patient, where as in construction error which have any harm to human life are very very rare.
But you don't have checklist for every small thing, and Atul provided a guideline to making checklist, I don't clearly remember and I should go and read the sections of the book again.
Checklists are useful because they end up freeing your mind from the unnecessary boring detail. there are also other cases I can think of
Where to apply a rule:
- Where the rewards or looses of doing something occur only in long term, we tend to ignore the long term result and focus on instant gratification.
- Always and never rules
- The projects the complete counts and not the one you start.
Formalization leads to gramatization, when a formal structure is in place it is harder see things in informal terms or whatever that doesn't fall into that formal structure tends to get ignored. A very clear example will be case where peolple who have only learned about information transfer uses of language tend find phatic usuages like that of small talk "useless". But as it evident from the use of term phatic, the way we with problems of formalization is more formalization trying to capture things which weren't captured earlier, ofcourse that formalization also leaves something. But as it said in Statistics, all models are false but some are useful.