Field of Science


Go figure and 90-90 rule of project planning

The 90-90 rule of project planning is simple. The first 90% of a project takes up 90% of the time allotted. The last 10% of the project takes up the other 90% of the time. Publications are rather like this because figures are always the last thing to be finalized and finished, a fiddly fussy process that seems to take forever. This is compounded exponentially by the number of figures involved. So just when the Phactor thought he was over the hump and had all the figures ready for 11 chapters of a book, he discovers that all the figures were of the wrong file type (dang!) and then he finally remembers he sort of skipped over chapters 8 and 9 so as not to get bogged down in a spot where the figures were less finalized. This turned out to be something in the neighborhood of 25 figures that need to be checked for font of any embedded labels, resolution and size, cosmetic detailing, replacement with better figure, nifty changes to better illustrate something, and any way you slice it or dice it, several days of work. All but five were finished yesterday, and about 1/3 of all figures still need to be changed to a tiff format, and that's just about it for spring break. Trying to get a project like this done while classes are in session is just about impossible, but with a diligent effort, a very patient editor may well get this beast before the end of May. Of course field season looms and a prairie study site will need to be burned some time this week. But today is basically a day off occupied by waiting for a delivery of several tons of rocks (pond renovation project) and then off to Chicago for a nice dinner and evening out with friends.

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