Delivering Projects on Schedule – Part 9 (Parkinson’s Law)

wheel invented

Was the wheel invented because of an arbitrary deadline?

In this final part of our series on delivering projects on schedule, I will share an important and disturbing law of our projectized universe. It is a law that pre-dates the invention of the wheel, and may have played a critical role in the wheel being invented at all. But since you are reading this, I know you are one of the smart, tough-minded professionals that gets results. If that is not you, please stop reading now, because you, in particular, are not going to like what I have to say.


Tip 9 – Utilize Parkinson’s Law


In case you haven’t heard of Parkinson’s Law, the premise is that “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”


So what does that mean? It means that the longer someone has to complete a task, the longer it takes to complete the task. Conversely, the shorter amount of time there is for a task, the quicker it will get done.


The key to utilizing Parkinson’s law is to set an arbitrary deadline, and treat it as real. People and teams who do this, often create incredible results. It’s not necessarily fun, but it does work.


To some, it may seem counter-intuitive, crazy, or just plain wrong. The nice part is, I don’t have to waste any time trying to convince those people otherwise, because I doubt they are still reading this post. Instead, they may have found something else to fill up all that spare time they have between their real deadlines.


“A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.” -Rita Mae Brown

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One Response to “Delivering Projects on Schedule – Part 9 (Parkinson’s Law)”

  1. Watford web designer November 1 at 3:39 pm #

    good one, appreciate your time and effort put in to this article. Never herd that Parkinson Law thing before, lol

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