Monthly Archives: October 2012

Critical path, missed deadlines, schedule compression, and working smarter

The critical path approach to project scheduling was developed at Dupont and Rand in the late 1950s. It involves defining project activities and their relative dependencies, and ascertaining what the sequence of critical tasks of longest duration is, and hence what the overall project timeline is which cannot be shortened — given that by definition there is no slack on the critical path. Note that there can be several near-critical paths.

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Naive automation, barcoding, and Air France flight 447

The 1960s classic Fail Safe, with Henry Fonda as the US president and Walter Matthau as a gung-ho political adviser, presents the viewer with a hypothetical but convincing account of the handling of a global crisis situation.  Here, a flawed decision-making process built on the premise that letting technology lock humans out represents the most fail-safe path in a dangerous situation — in this case, for national security reasons — ends up boxing everybody in and being extremely costly for all concerned.

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