Prioritization Encourages Groupthink
“Good morning everyone. First, let me say how excited I am on this, the first day of our new project! The goal of the project is to build a single family home, and we have a month to build it. Working closely with our team of engineers and architects we have broken down all the individual requirements for the house, estimated how long they will take, and all we need to do today is prioritize them. Since building houses is intuitive to everyone, this shouldn’t take too long, but I’ve blocked out 2 hours just in case we need extra time. Let’s get started!”
“Obviously, all houses start with a foundation, so we should start there. This is a costly task, but since it’s a required for in order to building the rest of the house it should be our first one. What’s that? Oh, yes, of course, I assumed we were already connected to utilities such as water and electricity ahead of time, but if you guys want I can move those to the top of the priority list. Now, once we have the foundation, we need to put up the walls, as logically a house needs walls after the foundation. Sorry, I didn’t catch that…yes the walls would of course have places for the doors and windows to go, I figured that went without saying. However, I think we can all agree that you first need to put the walls up before worrying about the doors and windows. OK, now once they’re fully painted…uh…yes, I suppose it would be a good idea to wait until the doors and windows were installed before we did the painting. Good point, I’ll make a note of that.
“With the walls up, we can move onto the roof. Yes, sorry, I’m listening: What if it rains and the inside of the doors and windows gets damaged? Aren’t all doors and windows weather-proof from both sides? OK, well if we need to have a roof first, we can move adding the roof before the doors and windows but after adding the walls. OK, with foundation, wall, roof, and doors and windows in place we’re pretty much done, and just need so finishing touches that shouldn’t take that long – which is good as we will only have a week left to the project. I recommend that in order to make our deadline, we should focus on only adding the most important features first, which are the kitchen and bathrooms. It has one kitchen, and 3 bathrooms, and since the project plan calls for 4 people working on the kitchen, and 2 people working on a bathroom, we’ll need 10 people working in parallel to get it all done. Oh, I didn’t realize that was outside of the budget. Well, looking at the sub-tasks, it looks like electrical and plumbing take the majority of the time, so we can either cut those or reduce the number of bathrooms. I agree, electrical is something we move to later phase of the project, as we can give them portable lighting in the meanwhile. Also, we can cut toilets until the next phase – they can just use the sinks. Wow, sorry about that folks but it looks like we’re running 15 minutes over our 2 hour meeting time. I’ll reschedule a follow up meeting for later this week, and continue working through this list. Personally, I feel like we have enough of a priority list to tell the construction team to get started, so not getting through the entire list today won’t cost us any time. Good job everyone!”