Don’t break Parkinson’s Law 17 Oct 2005
35 comments Latest by Ovidiu Nistor
Parkinson’s law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Basically it’s saying that demands on someone’s resources expand to fill their free time. Another way to put it is if you give someone 8 hours to do a 2 hour project, it will take 8 hours to get done. From Wikipedia:
According to Parkinson, this is motivated by two forces: (1) “An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals” and (2) “Officials make work for each other.” He also noted that the total of those employed inside a bureaucracy rose by 5-7% per year “irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done”.
This is one of the problems with having too many people on staff — you need to keep them busy. This is how software gets bloated. Too many people, too much time, too many features to add. It’s also a vote for more constraints. By forcing yourself to do less (because you have less money, less people, and less time) you can’t do too much.