2015-06-12 Parkinsons law

Parkinsons law states that the amount of resources needed, tend to expand to fit at least the amount of resources allocated. And though the opposite is not necessarily true, it has a tendency to go in that direction.

In addition, at least for IT projects, it is often the case that the amount of resources needed is roughly twice the amount of resources estimated. – so a good rule of thumb when estimating is: to try to make as reasonable an estimate as possible, and then double it. In my experience, this has often turned out to be surprisingly accurate.

The inverse of Parkinsons law is also very useful, even if it may not be true – if resources needed partly shrinks to fit the amount of resources allocated, then having short deadlines for parts of project, or limit time or other resources, could help in efficiency. I would not like to do that on a business or full project level, as it might lead to stress, – but on a personal level I find it very helpful.

A concrete example is my challenge of daily writing practice: The last couple of days it has taken too much of my time, so today I attempt to limit my writing time to 30 minutes.

Another effect of allocating a concrete time limit to a task is, that it also helps you get started. Psychologically, after I winded up the kitchen timer, and it starts ticking, I feel I have to focus on the task and start working on it immediately. A surprisingly difficult part of many tasks is to actually get started on it, – and it is feels way easier to say: I will only do 15 minutes of boring tasks now, than to say I will do this boring task, – even if it in reality only to takes 10 minutes.

And this concludes the post, 25 minutes after I started, with 5 minutes left to read it through.