“I don’t understand,” Calvin shook his head. “It was only a two week project. We are almost finished. Why do you think we need a plan, now? All we have to do is get the last of the barcode labels on the product boxes we missed.”
“You tell me,” I said. “How did the barcode project turn out so far?”
“Well, we’re still working on it. It’s a lot of boxes, and we missed some as we were going through the inventory.”
“How did you find that out?”
“Well, my boss showed up late in the afternoon and started to look around. It’s amazing how he can always find the stuff we missed. It’s almost like he went straight to it. Boom. In five minutes he found 36 product bins that we missed completely. Now he is making us go back through and check every single item.”
“What is that doing to your completion schedule?” Calvin, just looked at me. No answer.
“So, there wasn’t enough time to plan this thing up front?” I said. “There wasn’t enough time to do it right, but there is enough time, now, to do it twice?
“Calvin, I know it seems you are really behind the 8-ball, but I want you to stop. Right now. Stop, and get your team around. I want you to draw out each of the steps with your team on a big piece of butcher paper. I want you to plan how you are going to get all the labels on and then plan how you are going to check for accuracy. You should be able to get that plan done in a half an hour. That half hour will end up saving you eight hours on the back end, and you shouldn’t have to do it a third time.
“Remember, doing it a third time is always an option.”