Friday, June 22, 2007

[Random Factor #31] What's Next?

Hey folks, how's your week been? Been busy?
Too much to do? Not enough time?

Hopefully, today's Random Factor can help.

Let's say you have 4 projects you need to get
done. To keep it simple let's assume that each
project has 4 one-week phases, that each project
is independent from each other, and that none
have a deadline.

Let's represent the projects as A,B,C,D, and
the 4 phases represented as such:


There are two basic approaches.

The intuitive approach is cyclical. Since we want
to keep all our projects moving forward, we take
one week for project A, one for project B, etc.


* marks when the project is finished.

Consider instead the second approach.


With approach (2) project A is finished after
week 4, project B is finished after week 8,
and C is finished after week 12. That means
3 projects are done by week 13, the time it
that project A would be finished using
approach (1).

Since projects usually have a benefit upon
completion, (if only getting it off your mind)
using approach (2) means you benefit from project
A eight weeks longer, project B six weeks longer,
and project C three weeks longer.

Consider also the reality that in a 16 week period
you will likely find more projects (E & F) to do,
so option (1) actually plays out like this:

A B C D A B C D E A B C D E F A* B* C* D* E F E* F F*

Using approach (1) project A is not done until
after week 16, but using the approach (2) by week
16 projects A, B, C, & D are all done.

Unfortunately, in reality, we usually can't focus on
just one thing, but then again, there are usually
low-priority projects that should wait.

to making progress every day,

Some Guy


This text published originally in the newsletter
The Random Factor at

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