Parkinson’s Law meets its match: The Shrink Law of Agile
How long does it take to paint the Statue of Liberty? If a team has hundred days to clean The Titanic, how many days will they take to do it? What if they have fifty days, instead of hundred? Though hard to believe, the answer to each of these questions may be same. Each task will take the time allocated for it!
That’s Parkinson’s Law at work. Work increases to fill the time available.
C. Northcote Parkinson introduced the Law in his article in the Economist in 1955. “The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may… leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil” he declared. Originally aimed at the bureaucracy, you can see the Law at work in everyday situations. The Law may sound funny, outrageous, irrational, insulting…until you look at others’ work. Not yours of course, other peoples’.
The Law applies to almost all human endeavor. Exceptions are only few. Agile is one of them.
When the going gets tough, the tough…lower goals.
Agile not only ignores Parkinson’s Law, it actually reverses it…to start with.
In Agile, work reduces to fill the time available. Reduces! I call it the Shrink Law of Agile.