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On Making Things

By Colin on 2023-04-19

The Emperor commands:

Build me a Daibutsu.

How does one build a giant Buddha statue?

  1. Carve the wood.
  2. Attach the pieces.
  3. Repeat.

Other tasks like planning, material procurement, and hiring are all overhead and separate from the actual process of making the statue. They are not "work" in the same sense that the carpenters are doing. To make it clearer which resource depends on which:

  1. No matter how good the plans or materials, without carpenters you're stuck.
  2. The amount of work the carpenters need to do is basically fixed, but that of the planners and managers can loop and extend without end.
  3. Any activity or obstacle that stops what the carpenters are doing delays the project.

The carpenters are the centre. That said, starting a big project without a plan would be foolish. The problem is thus:

How should we balance planning and real work in a way that doesn't delay the carpenters more than necessary?

The Emperor wants his statue.

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