In class today we learned about the concept of slack when looking at a project layout. Each step of the project has so many days to complete, and each project step may have some slack time so long as it isn’t in the project’s main path. Many projects are dissected down to every bit of detail to where we know each steps time frame. Again like we did in class today or through a Microsoft Project program you can layout the full project and each steps time frame to get you that given slack time. Throughout much of class today though I was thinking in many cases this could lead to problems especially if departments have this information. Employees may wait until the last possible minute to complete their scheduled task, or take a bit more time than they should to complete coding, or whatever it is they may be assigned to.
Now of course a simple solution to this problem is to have a strong project manager that can continuously motivate employees and keep everyone on task, but still when most employees are presented with the fact that they have some extra leeway not much will stop them from taking advantage of it. Through a work experience of my own, even I as the project / event manager took advantage of this time at a previous job. I was in charge of several large bowling events throughout Illinois, we had the projects lined out much like we have done in class, we had the time frames mapped out, we knew the tasks, and we knew that we would always give ourselves that cushion to get the project fully done of a couple weeks. Sure enough we took every tournament preparation right down to the wire, there were many late nights spent the day before a tournament getting everything prepped and ready for the next day. Every single time we would ask ourselves why did we wait till the last minute? Every single time we would just go back and do it again. Sure we got the project completed, and did it quite well, but we took full advantage of the time we had.
So my question is how do your employers handle this type of issue to ensure a certain department or team doesn’t take advantage of the “extra 10%” of the slack, or even the budget for that matter? Is there a way to do it without offering an incentive to project team or departments to be on time or is that the only solution?