idea #030: Microplanning
Making scheduling personal.
Every project needs some form of schedule. Productivity hackers out there keep to-do lists, create systems to do 'deep work' and make sure the most important task (MIT) of the day is knocked off first things.
If we go one more layer deeper in terms of complexity, we see how software developers and product teams chunk out work and manage in iterations (sprints) typically within an agile framework. But what does this mean over a longer timeline, for a much more complicated project, such as building a skyscraper or LNG plant?
Today in the world of construction, high-level critical path (CPM) schedules are produced to break the project down into packages and build a logic between these activities to understand the total duration of the job. This is great, at a high-level, but adds pretty much zero value to the person performing the day-to-day work. So, as with many other industries, teams hack together a working schedule using excel, which we all know, has severe limitations. Now this isn't just a problem with construction, but applicable to any complicated project whether it's shooting a movie or building an airplane.
The vision for this idea is to create a project conductor that is self-healing and provides every team member a daily plan automatically that is specific for them. It answers the question, at least conceptually, on how to apply agile principles as well as productivity hacks, across a project team.
Based upon what work is completed each day, the tool will recalibrate and distribute the most valuable tasks for each team member for the next day. For construction this would be revolutionary and begin to erode the biggest driver of poor productivity - idle time. Imagine as a construction worker, showing up to the job site, receiving a message showing your 3 tasks for the day, and when you arrive at the work face, your tools and consumables are already staged, ready to go. Zero time lost, instead of today, where the average worker is only able to complete the equivalent of about 3 hours of productive work a day.
Ultimately this is an intricate communication problem, but with great advancements in AI/ML and general mobile technology, this is solvable. If we look at how Amazon or FedEx coordinates package delivery, I believe it would give a foundational starting point in how to tackle this for other industries. The preceding challenge would be to develop ways to automatically generate a schedule, most likely as a product from a BIM model and historical project baselines. That is, if people would start sharing data :)
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