Introduction

Putt’s Law, also known as Parkinson’s Law, is a principle that suggests that the amount of time required to complete a task will expand to fill the time available for its completion. This concept has significant implications for project management and productivity. In this article, we will explore the history and origins of Putt’s Law.

What is Putt’s Law?

Putt’s Law suggests that people tend to work at a pace that is proportional to the time available to complete the task, rather than the complexity of the task itself. For example, if an employee is given a week to complete a task that could be done in a day, they may take the full week to complete it.

The principle is based on the idea that people often procrastinate and work inefficiently when they have more time than they need to complete a task. This can lead to delays, missed deadlines, and a lower quality of work.

Putt’s Law has significant implications for project management and productivity, as it suggests that setting tight deadlines and limiting the time available to complete a task can improve productivity and efficiency. By creating a sense of urgency and encouraging employees to work efficiently, managers can overcome the tendency to expand the time required to complete a task. 

This means that Putt’s Law highlights the importance of time management and the need to set realistic deadlines to ensure optimal performance and productivity. By understanding and applying this principle, individuals and organizations can improve their efficiency and achieve better results.

 

History & Origins of Putt’s Law

Putt’s Law, also known as Parkinson’s Law, has a rich history and origins that can be traced back to the mid-20th century. The concept was first formulated by R.W. Putt in the 1950s, who observed that people tend to work inefficiently when given too much time to complete a task.

Putt was an engineer who worked for the British government, and he observed that projects tended to take longer than expected to complete. He studied the phenomenon and concluded that people often expand their work to fill the time available for its completion. Putt’s Law suggests that setting tight deadlines and limiting the time available to complete a task can increase productivity and efficiency by creating a sense of urgency and encouraging team members to work efficiently.

The concept of Putt’s Law gained wider recognition and popularity when it was mentioned in a humorous essay by C. Northcote Parkinson in 1955. Parkinson was a British historian, writer, and humorist who wrote the essay “Parkinson’s Law” for The Economist. In the essay, Parkinson suggested that work expands to fill the time available for its completion, and he illustrated the concept with humorous examples.

Parkinson’s essay was widely read and enjoyed, and it led to the publication of his book “Parkinson’s Law: The Pursuit of Progress” in 1957. The book expanded on the concept of work expanding to fill the time available and discussed various principles that affect the efficiency of organizations, including bureaucracy and the tendency of work to expand to fill the time available. The book became a bestseller and is still widely read and referenced today.

Putt’s Law has significant implications for project management and productivity, and it is still relevant in today’s fast-paced work environment. By setting tight deadlines and limiting the time available to complete a task, project managers can increase productivity and efficiency by creating a sense of urgency and encouraging team members to work efficiently. The origins of Putt’s Law can be traced back to the observations of R.W. Putt and the humorous essay of C. Northcote Parkinson, and the concept remains widely recognized and studied today.

Examples of Putt’s Law in the Workplace

  1. Meeting Deadlines: If a project manager sets a deadline for a project, team members may take longer to complete the project than necessary, as they know they have the full deadline to work with.
  2. Procrastination: Employees may put off work until the last minute when they have an extended period to complete a task. This can lead to a rush to complete the work and may result in lower-quality output.
  3. Over-Engineering: When a team has more time than needed, they may try to make a project overly complex or advanced. This can lead to wasted time, effort, and resources.
  4. Micromanagement: If a manager is not confident in their team’s ability to complete a task efficiently, they may spend more time micromanaging their work. This can lead to inefficiencies and reduced productivity.

 

Effects and Implications of Putt’s Law

Putt’s Law has several implications and effects in the workplace. These include:

  1. Reduced Productivity: If employees are given too much time to complete a task, they may work inefficiently and take longer than necessary to complete the work. This can lead to reduced productivity and output.
  2. Lower Quality Output: When employees expand their work to fill the time available, they may rush to complete the work at the last minute. This can lead to lower quality output and errors in the final product.
  3. Wasted Resources: When projects take longer than necessary to complete, they can waste time, effort, and resources that could have been used for other tasks.
  4. Delayed Projects: When employees take longer than necessary to complete a task, it can lead to delayed projects, missed deadlines, and reduced customer satisfaction.

How HR Managers Can Overcome the Operations of Putt’s Law

HR managers can overcome the operations of Putt’s Law by implementing the following strategies:

  1. Setting Realistic Deadlines: HR managers can set realistic deadlines for projects and tasks, based on the complexity of the work and the available resources. This can help to avoid the tendency of work expanding to fill the time available.
  2. Encouraging Time Management: HR managers can encourage employees to manage their time effectively by creating to-do lists, prioritizing tasks, and avoiding procrastination. This can help to ensure that employees complete their work efficiently, without wasting time.
  3. Breaking Down Complex Projects: HR managers can break down complex projects into smaller tasks with specific deadlines. This can help employees to focus on the task at hand and complete the work within the allotted time.
  4. Providing Feedback: HR managers can provide feedback on employee performance, including the quality of work and timeliness of completion. This can help employees to improve their efficiency and avoid the tendency of work expanding to fill the time available.
  5. Emphasizing Accountability: HR managers can emphasize accountability and responsibility among employees. By holding employees accountable for their work and performance, they are more likely to complete tasks efficiently and within the given deadlines.

How Formplus Can Help HR Managers

Formplus can help HR managers to overcome the operations of Putt’s Law in several ways, including:

  1. Workflow Automation: Formplus offers a workflow automation feature that can help HR managers automate repetitive tasks, such as sending emails or scheduling interviews. This can free up time for HR managers to focus on more critical tasks, such as managing employee performance.
  2. Customizable Forms: Formplus allows HR managers to create customizable forms that can be used to collect data from employees or job candidates. These forms can be tailored to the specific needs of the HR department, and they can be used to collect data efficiently and accurately.
  3. Custom Reports: Formplus allows HR managers to generate custom reports, which can be used to track employee performance, identify areas of improvement, and make data-driven decisions. Custom reports can also be shared with team members, stakeholders, and senior management, ensuring that everyone is informed of HR department activities.
  4. Mobile Compatibility: Formplus is mobile-compatible, allowing HR managers to manage HR tasks on the go. This ensures that HR managers can access information and respond to employee or candidate queries in real-time, improving overall HR department efficiency.
  5. Data Security: Formplus provides data security features such as SSL encryption, password protection, and data backup, ensuring that employee and candidate data is protected from unauthorized access or loss.

 

Conclusion

Overall, HR managers can overcome the operations of Putt’s Law by setting realistic deadlines, encouraging time management, breaking down complex projects, providing feedback, and emphasizing accountability. By implementing these strategies, HR managers can increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace, and ensure that projects are completed on time and to a high standard.

 


  • Olayemi Jemimah Aransiola
  • on 6 min read

Formplus

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