Back in my junior year of high school I was first introduced to the kind of Newtonian Mechanics physics that can be both incredibly useful in real life use (looking at the where forces are applied in a system, calculating collisions and projectile flight paths) and can also be a total pain in the ass. The reason it’s a total pain in the ass in that when analyzing any system to see what the result will be given a specific set of starting conditions, the most important aspect of the analysis is not being able to do the math involved. Really, for all intents and purposes, pretty much all math you use in Newtonian Physics doesn’t get any more difficult than basic algebra. No, the hard part about analyzing these systems actually comes in setting up the analysis. See, you have to be able to look at a given system and be able to set up how the equations interact and which forces are being applied where. Once you have the whole thing set up – once the framework is in place to analyze the system, then the actual process of calculating the results is fairly trivial.
So what does this have to do with business? Maybe nothing. But as I was staring at an example chart in Tom’s Planner today (which is a beta version of an online Gantt Chart tool) I started looking at all the steps listed in that chart. I began thinking that the real key to getting a long project isn’t about being able to execute all the individual steps. In most cases, the steps are easy, can be figured out, or can be farmed out to a VA if that’s something you’re cool with.
No, the difficult part is actually planning the whole project out. It’s figuring out how all the little pieces interact, knowing which dominoes need to fall first, and which parts of the project can run on their own while others are taken care of concurrently. Charting the path from where you are to a completed project is the difficult aspect of any project, and it’s also, not surprisingly, the most important part as well. I guess that’s why the people who are able to plan things out, manage people, fit people in to the tasks at hand, and assess the progress of the whole end up making the big bucks, and the individuals who execute the tasks get laid off when they’re not needed.
It kind of makes me miss physics.
But I think I might need to go to business school.