How to Detail a Task to Discover its Time Span

I could see that Joel was stressed. This was a big job. Joel had been a successful supervisor, but this assignment as a new manager was different for him.

“It was all about improvisation,” he proclaimed. “Life was exciting. Things were always moving.

“But you asked me to make a list of the most important tasks in my new role, as a manager. I started with my role description. The insight came when I tried to peg the time span associated with each task.

“Here is one,” he continued. “The role description says that I am responsible for making sure we have enough direct labor to meet the production needs for all the cycles during the year.

“At first, I thought it just meant that I should post job vacancies and do some interviews. But when you asked me to attach time span to the task, my head started to spin.

“It was only then, that I realized I needed to research our historical workloads during the three cycles of our year. I had to take a look at our maximum production capacity along with the marketing and sales forecast. I spent the time to lay out all this data for the whole year. I used a line graph to help me visualize it. Then I had to figure out what resources we needed to produce the numbers related to the forecast. The forecast is helpful, but it is often wrong by as much as ten percent.

“All in all, when I looked at my new job, I really have to be planning out 12 months or more, in advance. This is a lot bigger than I thought.”

I smiled at Joel. He was new to the job, but he was beginning to understand the time span related to this new level of work, the time span necessary to be successful as a manager.

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