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Boil the Ocean – Definition

Boil The Ocean Definition

Boiling the ocean simply refers to an attempt of performing a seemingly impossible task or making a task difficult which is not needful. It has to do with engaging in futile tasks. Generally, an individual or an overly ambitious company take on impossible task, this is otherwise described as going overboard.

Also, when the scope of a task or project is unnecessarily increased that it becomes difficult to achieve, it is an act of boiling the ocean. Trying to do the impossible, enlarging a scope unwarrantedly, bringing many daunting problems into one task all describes boiling the ocean.

A Little More on What is Boil The Ocean Strategy

Individuals or companies can engage in acts that can be tagged boiling the ocean. A good example is when a project managers makes his team members carry on tasks that are impossible to achieve. Excessive ambitions or unwarranted desires of certain people can make them expand the scope of a task until it becomes practically impossible to achieve. Often times, people that use the boil the ocean strategy want to break specific records in the industry in which they operate. For instance, a project manager that presents a proposal for a five-year project that he aims to achieve in just one year with the same result as that of five years.

References for Boiling the Ocean

Academic Research on Boil the Ocean

Harnessing Diversity through Open Innovation Platforms: You Can’t Boil the Ocean… Or Can You?, Levina, N., & Malone, T. W. In Academy of Management Proceedings. Academy of ManagementBriarcliff Manor, NY 10510.

How to Scale Improvement: Beyond Bottlenecks and Boiling the Ocean, Prager, D. (2018). Available at SSRN 3245685.

Tackling risk-based compliance, Ludwick, K. (2006). Journal of Investment Compliance, 7(4), 61-64.

A systems approach for human capital management, Jackson, P. (2007). VINE, 37(4), 399-403.

How to scope DMAIC projects, Lynch, D. P., Bertolino, S., & Cloutier, E. (2003). Quality progress, 36(1), 37-41.

How to avoid use-case pitfalls, Lilly, S. (2000). How to avoid use-case pitfalls. SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT-SAN FRANCISCO-, 8, 40-45.

Engineering the sustainable business: An enterprise architecture approach, Noran, O. V. I. D. I. U. (2009). Coherency management: Architecting the enterprise for alignment, agility, and assurance, 179-210.

Inter-and intra-organisational barriers to sharing knowledge in the extended supply-chain, Barson, R. J., Foster, G., Struck, T., Ratchev, S., Pawar, K., Weber, F., & Wunram, M. (2000, October). In Proceedings of the eBusiness and eWork (pp. 18-20).

Consumer activism means big business, McCune, J. C. (1990). Management Review, 79(12), 16.

Enhancing IT support with knowledge management, Gilbert, P., Morse, R., & Lee, M. (2007). CA Transforming IT Management, December, 1-8.



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