Every project must have a multitude of goals that need to be met in order to successfully launch a product. Typically these goals are not consecutive but run parallel to each other, and most of the time they are competing for the same resources. A juggling act then starts with each resource trying to do many things at once. The way we, at Columbia Tech, resolve such conflicts, is to categorize and prioritize. To help with visualizing this process, a story comes to mind from an unknown author.
A professor of philosophy wanted to teach his students about prioritization. One day he showed up to class with a large glass jar and a box of various items. Without saying a word he proceeded to set the jar on his desk for all to see. He then grabbed a bag of golf balls from the box and poured them into the jar filling it to the top. He then looked up at the class and asked the group for a show of hands as to who thinks the jar is full, to which all the students raised their hands.
He then reached into the box and pulled out a bag of small marbles and proceeded to pour them into the jar. As they moved down into the jar they filled in all the spaces left in between the golf balls. Once it was clear that the jar could not hold any more marbles he asked the class for a show of hands again as to who thinks the jar is full, to which this time most raised their hands.
He then reached into the box and pulled out a bag of sand and proceeded to pour the sand into the jar. He would stop every now and then to shake and tilt the jar so that the sand filled every cavity left over by the marbles. He then asked the class for a show of hands about the jar being full, to which all the hands in the class went up. He then reached into the box and opened two cans of beer and proceeded to pour them into the jar.
The moral of the story is that if we fill our jars (lives) with the smaller things first then there will not be enough room for the bigger, more important, things. This also holds true for our company projects and objectives. By staying focused on the larger issues such as customer satisfaction, overall commitment to quality, and total regulatory compliance; we address the core fundamental reasons reflecting what Columbia Tech is all about and the traits that made Coghlin Companies an industry leader for more than 125 years. Production improvements, cost cutting exercises, and ongoing employee training would represent the next level of important things which support the larger objectives. Everything else is the sand that holds it all tight.
As for the two cans of beverage; in every project there is always room for a couple of cold ones at the end of another successful product launch for our loyal customers.