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How to cut time off any project

Hi there,  Do you want to start seeing results faster or hit your goal sooner? Then take a look at yo

Work in Progress

October 5 · Issue #52 · View online
The newsletter about work

Hi there, 
Do you want to start seeing results faster or hit your goal sooner? Then take a look at your critical path.

Your critical path contains only those steps that are essential for getting where you want to go. Each step is critical to achieving a particular goal. 
Doing only the absolute essentials to reach your goal can be smart. You cut the time it takes to deliver and share your work sooner, which means you learn faster. 
Doing only the essentials may sound like cutting corners, but it’s not. There may be different views on what it takes to reach a goal – and that’s something to discuss and clarify, to pin down the essence. Sometimes doing the essentials still takes years. And sometimes a complex project can be cut down to a day’s work by concentrating on the critical path. 
The more people involved, the more chance that everyone has a different take on the critical path. And that means you could be doing work that’s not at all relevant for reaching that shared goal.
For instance, building a system for updating a new application or website is often seen as a crucial part of the initial project. But when you don’t even know if the app will be a success, you don’t yet need a CMS. And you certainly won’t need it right away.
Cross it off the list of essentials.
When it comes to your own projects, your idea of what’s essential may be a little fuzzy. After all, it’s influenced by your sense of what’s key to your own work. Then there’s the uncertainty that can be a source of extra work (so that you can postpone the confrontation just a little longer).
For a clear-eyed look at the essentials, try this:
Three things to try this week
  • For just about every project you’re currently working on, I’ll bet there are elements you could scrap to get done sooner. Plot out your critical path today and see where you can win time. 
  • Open up the discussion to the whole team with the question, What do you think we could cut out? And for your own projects: Sketch your critical path and ask others if all those steps are really needed.
  • Imagine you had to hit your goal in a week. How would you then approach the project? Let’s say you only have a day. What would you scrap? Use the insight those questions bring and pare down the critical path to its very essence.
The gist
First make sure you have a critical path that’s crystal clear. Then do only those essential things. Cut out what you can to make your critical path even shorter. And get results quick!
Have a good week,

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