Friday, June 6, 2014

The kids playhouse lessons of project management

I have spent a few days spread over thelast months trying to build a swanky play house for the kids. The house itself has been met with approval by its customers, indicating i did a decent enough job.

Coupleof things that happened while building:

- small injury. Handeling wood and tools make scrapes etc inevitable.
- delay due to weather.
- goingback to the hardware store for that thing that I forgot.
- a thing that took longer.
- something that the instructional video made look trivial but wasn’t.
- back to the store for two more planks.
- it took longer.
- late stage suggestions for improvements.

Doesn’t this all sound familiar? With theexception of the more trips to the hardware store than originally anticipated, pretty much all of these are artifacts of astronomy projects. Such things pop up with every project. I have done two projects with woodworking around the house and immediately i can tell you there is a HUGE difference in the documentation. Vague instructions demand lots of improvisation and take much longer (playhoise) and detailed cut list makes it go very quick and smooth (work bench).
additional trips are inevitable but with a clear plan can be cut down significantly.

Small injury amd delay are inevitable. Weather will happen.

But it feels like we have to delude ourselves some every time in order to get started. If the first thought for a project would be “definitely going to need some bandaids during this”, we’d never get started. Same in astronomy I wager.

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