This week's blog post title is what I sometimes call "Taylor's 1st Law." It was introduced to my by Bruce Taylor, my friend and mentor from the Puget Sound Project User's Group. You can get more of Bruce's wisdom from this excellent book he co-wrote with Bill Dow, the Project Management Communications Bible.
Let's dig into the statement "Everything takes longer than it takes." At first glance it's one of those pithy little statements that may bring a smile because we recognize it as both semantically false and real-world true.
When I consider the knowledge-worker projects I've been involved in, some of the reasons everything takes longer than it takes include:
- We overestimate our capacity to focus on the work
- We underestimate the true scope of the work
- We don't fully account for the considerable effort required to coordinate efforts between knowledge workers
You surely can add to this list. Note that not on my list is "we lack the technical skills to perform the work." In the projects with the most severe cases of Taylor's 1st Law that I've experienced, lack of technical skill didn't even make the top 3 list of problem areas.
How can we better approach the planning, execution and tracking of projects to account for everything taking longer than it takes? Share your suggestions and war stories via the comments.