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BizTech Magazine Article: Crashing The Schedule

November 29th, 2007 · 2 Comments

I recently changed a flat tire in a busy section of a public parking garage, just as the nearby office buildings surrounding it were emptying for the day. Streams of cars passed by me as I changed my tire. Some of those driving home were undoubtedly coworkers, and the thought occurred to me that they might stop to offer help.

Honestly, I hoped no one would stop. I can change a tire in less than 10 minutes if no one “helps.” Fortunately, no one stopped, but my thoughts turned to crashing the tire-change schedule. Would 50 people thrown at this task have helped? Or, would the overhead of managing 50 people have increased the time involved in changing the tire?

Of course, this reminded me of work and the tendency to crash delivery schedules on information technology projects.

Read the rest of the article in BizTech Magazine…

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Tags: Agile

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tom Clarkson // Nov 30, 2007 at 5:44 am

    I think most projects could be speeded up by adding more people. The problem is that you need both the right tools and the right people, as well as someone really smart to figure out which bits are actually independent tasks. It also needs to be planned from the start – you need the sort of architecture where a developer only needs to open one file to complete a task rather than the sort where the developer has to edit every file in the system and nobody else can make changes.

    This is of course unlikely to be the case on any project that has got into enough trouble to actually need speeding up.

  • 2 David Christiansen // Nov 30, 2007 at 7:44 am

    Hi Tom. It’s good to hear from our friends in Australia – anyone who’s interested in blogging in SharePoint should check out Tom’s site.

    I believe it’s hard to add people MIDSTREAM to an IT project and get much benefit in terms of schedule change, unless the bulk of the schedule is made up of tasks that require no coordination with others, little contextual knowledge, and are relatively independent. For example, changing FOUR tires is faster with FOUR people than it is with one, assuming you have four sets of tools, but changing ONE tire with FOUR people, in my experience, takes longer than with just one person.

    Adding people to a project midstream often has a powerful negative impact on schedule as well. Johanna Rothman talks about this in her book Manage It. I recommend you check this book out – it’s the best project management book I’ve ever read.

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