This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.
One of the things he doesn't mention in the "what to do instead" section is to make the estimation process a conversation and the open use of range estimates (buffers) for the project as a whole. This takes the pressure off of everybody to come up with [the impossible] accurate estimate.
Making Parkinson's Law Work for You -- More from the book I mentioned yesterday, The 4-Hour Workweek...
If I give you a week to complete the same task, it's six days of making a mountain out of a molehill. If I give you two months, God forbid, it becomes a mental monster. The end product of the shorter deadline is almost inevitably of equal or higher quality due to greater focus.
This presents a very curious phenomenon. There are two synergistic approaches for increasing productivity that are inversions of one another:
1.) Limit tasks to the important to shorten work time. (80/20) 2.) Shorten work time to limit tasks to the important. (Parkinson's Law).
The best solution is to use both together: Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income and schedule them with very short and clear deadlines.
Of course this assumes you are capable of fooling yourself into honoring self-imposed short deadlines - kind of like setting your clocks fast to avoid being late.
CLIENT: I'm about to talk to the pharma client, I need a computer graphics budget for an interactive CD-ROM.
ME: Great, email me the project details, how many screens, client deadlines, etc.
CLIENT: Well, can't you just give me a ballpark figure?
ME: A ballpark figure? But, I don't know any of specs, nor any of the client info. Please send me what you have, I'll look over it this weekend and I'll have something for you first thing Monday morning.
CLIENT: Well, we need to send them something today, by 4:30PM. Can't you just estimate it?