Precision in a project is sometimes critical….and sometimes unnecessary. As project managers and leaders, we need to understand the importance (or lack thereof) for precision.
- If I am dropping an atom bomb from an airplane, it can miss the target by several hundred feet and still be highly accurate. However, the frame of my iPhone had to be manufactured within a thousandths of an inch to spec.
- I can estimate the number of gallons of paint needed to paint my house and still recover if I miss it by a gallon or two. But, I can’t afford to guess at the labor costs for a quote for my customer. That could put me out of business.
- I can round off to large, broad numbers when having a budget discussion with my wife, but I better speak to the penny when talking an IRS agent about my taxes.
Most projects have tasks that can be delivered without a high degree of precision…we don’t need to spend a lot of time obsessing over an accurate number. But there are other tasks that must be managed to a level of exactness to produce the necessary results. We can easily get into trouble by misunderstanding how much accuracy is needed:
- We waste everyone’s time on precision when it is not needed, or
- We miss our objectives due to guessing instead of measuring
Thanks for listening.