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2/18/15

The Roof Project: The Planning Fallacy


Today starts our big home project, the new metal roof. It was supposed to start yesterday, but it rained all afternoon and night. So we hope today starts things rolling. We aren't actually doing the hard work, but all the same this type of project brings stress to your life. We've managed to get time off to observe the project and give approvals for additional materials or work if needed. So juggling our work schedules means different traffic patterns, eating meals at work, skipping walks, and dealing with the planning fallacy.

The planning fallacy occurs when ever you have a plan. And then real life happens. It rains. There's traffic. You find another problem with your project. You don't have the right tools. The material doesn't get delivered or doesn't meet specifications, or you don't have enough. All these things happen and the project doesn't progress as planned.

So, the plan for our new roof is to have it done in 7 days. Some people would say to double that expectation, so now we're at 14 days. But I've read about how to predict your true time to complete a project is to double the number, and go up to the next unit of measure. For example, say you want to change a light bulb in your kitchen ceiling light and it should take 1/4 hour (15 minutes). But you should plan for a 1/2 day. You first have to make sure you have a new replacement light bulb, but you have to determine what watt the current light bulb is. You have to get a ladder or stepstool to reach the ceiling light and remove the current bulb, so you know its 60 watt. But its stuck in the socket and you need a tool to grasp and turn it, but you break the bulb, and need to clean up the glass on the counter and the floor. You're at 1 hour already. Then you need to find a replacement bulb in your stockpile which takes a while and you discover you don't a 60 watt. So you have to drive to the store and buy some, but first you want to see if you have any coupons for light bulbs. Looking for coupons takes another 1/2 hour, and then the drive to the store (because you did find coupons - both a Target and Manufacturer stack for a deal at Publix) so you got a 4 pack for less than a dollar. The shop takes another hour since you got other stuff at the store too. So, you're up to 2 1/2 hrs already. Now you get home and climb up your step stool and install the light bulb. Now you have to put the extras away in your stockpile, and you organize your stockpile a little while you're back there. So it took 3 hours. Congratulations you beat the planning fallacy prediction.

So, here's hoping our new roof doesn't take 14 weeks to complete.

 
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