Just-In-Time PM #12: Just-In-Case to Just-In-Time

In Part 11, I introduced the concept of a “critical path” of tasks in a project, and the rationale for pushing tasks as late as possible on the timeline.

The late starts approach inspires a tremendous amount of resistance, especially from creative knowledge workers. It sounds an awful lot like taking control from individual employees, centralizing it in a central decision maker, and forcing people to finish everything at breakneck speed at the last minute.

It’s curious to note that the same people who tend to oppose late starts also pay homage to Toyota’s methods, loudly proclaiming their allegiance to books like The Lean Startup that were inspired by it. Yet no one mentions that early starts are the very antithesis of the just-in-time vision.

The truth is, if you adopt late starts in isolation, all these criticisms are valid. It only becomes possible (and humane) if enabled by the techniques we’ve covered in this series:

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