How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

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Location: India

Friday, December 09, 2005

Task scheduling

The end-term exams are on. There's nothing particularly interesting happening. Given how things work here, it's ironic how the last one or two weeks before the exams are very hectic with the project submissions and presentations, and when it's exam time, one actually feels relief :).

Normally hard-pressed for time in many descriptive exams, I have completed each one of the 5 exams so far ahead of time. Of course, the papers were a bit shorter this time. But the main difference is in how I went about writing the paper. Normally, I would look at the watch, see how much time is left, and calculate backwards based on safe estimates of how much time each remaining question would take. In other words, I would backward-schedule, and set intermediate deadlines mentally for each question.

This time I am constrained as my watch has run out of battery power and I don't have the time or inclination to go to the city and get a new battery. This means I have no time reference with which I can set intermediate deadlines (cell phones are not allowed in exams and the wall clock is generally too far away for me to make out the time). So I just do each task (e.g. reading a case, then writing the answers, etc.) as fast as I can (without too much loss of effectiveness, I hope). And I find that this way I am finishing papers faster.

Exactly the advice Eli Goldratt would have given me, and a good practical experience of the project scheduling methods outlined in 'Critical Chain', about which I have written earlier.

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