Parkinson’s Law

Here’s an interesting tidbit from my Project+ studies. Parkinson’s Law states:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

In other words, if you schedule “extra” time for work to be completed it will magically take exactly that long to do. People naturally pad to fill the available time. They might do this by wasting time and resources, or making a simple task overly complex, etc. The law was posited in a humorous essay for the Economist, but it really rings true. Be careful to manage any float time carefully, lest you or others fill it just because it’s there!

Risk Analysis

I’ve been thinking about risk analysis recently. The Times Online has an interesting story on teaching risk analysis in schools. People need proper tools to assess the deluge of information given to them. They tend to blow emotional stories up (like one person in the US getting mad cow disease) even if their personal risk is very low. It doesn’t help that it’s so easy to lie with statistics either.

Speaking of a risk analysis deficit, there must be a major one on the interstate. Every time I’m driving along, I notice when going from a 65 mph zone into a 55 mph zone most people seem to maintain their previous speed. People who wouldn’t go over the speed limit, or were only going 5 mph over had no problem with suddenly going 10 or 15 mph over. Hello?! What’s wrong with people? Maybe it’s just because I’m sort of in that risk mindset, but it seems rather silly.

Of course, if you’re being really risk adverse you’d probably take the bus instead! 🙂