Project Management

Half Plus Half Plus Half Equals Chaos

Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin

A couple Saturdays ago on National Public Radio’s Car Talk program, a caller pointed out to the Tappet Brothers that they’d just added three halves to come up with a whole. Click and Clack protested that the third half was a new scientific discovery made possible by the compression of time in cyberspace, but I knew better. Heck, we’ve been using third halves (and sometimes fourth and fifth ones) in project resource scheduling for a long time.

I personally have had all five of my halves simultaneously scheduled into various book, magazine and research projects for practically my entire career in the publishing industry. (When the five halves reassemble themselves briefly, for example on vacation, I am always amazed by how wide I look in that bathing suit and can’t wait to get back to being “stretched thin” at work.) 

The frustrations associated with being overscheduled on multiple projects are one reason that many people are enamored of Critical Chain Theory these days. When you are juggling three sets of responsibilities, each of which supposedly takes a third of your time but which always seem to turn into three halves, any method that promises the luxury of working on one thing at a time is almost as seductive as a desert island fantasy.

Eliyahu Goldratt’s central point in Critical Chain project management—-that multitasking makes project …


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"Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT's relativity."

- Albert Einstein