Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Phased Schedule: how to summarize an entire project (such as creation)...

In dealing with the debate between the young earth and old earth creation scenarios we must always remember to not limit our analysis to just the text of Genesis 1. The Bible has various other references to God's activity in creation (Genesis 2, Job 38, and Psalm 104 immediately come to mind) and if we are to fully understand this activity then we must strive to harmonize the various passages. A question (or some variation thereof) that young earth proponents frequently ask is, why should we take the days to be long periods of time when the text clearly states that they were days? While there are hermeneutical reasons why the old earth stance is permissible, I would rather address the possible reasons why, when we read the text of Genesis 1, we may come away thinking that the creation days must be six 24 hour periods. The first reason, of course, is that the text lays out the creation events into six periods, using terminology that could lead one to believe that the periods correspond directly with our days of the week. Yet note what just transpired - we see a direct correspondence between God's action during creation and the days of our week. Was the intent, or one of the intents, of the creation account to give us information as to the age of the universe and / or the length of time God used in creating? Or was the intent, or one of the intents, of the creation account to illustrate a pattern that virtually all peoples could relate to and understand? (namely, that of the 6 / 1 pattern) Even a cursory review of the scriptures will reveal virtually nothing written to reveal the age of the universe / earth in terms of actual numbers, yet we see an immensely rich use of the 6 / 1 pattern. As a planner/scheduler I can appreciate the use of a summarized schedule which one can use to represent an entire project of virtually any duration. Consider the graphic below.
This is a simple summarized schedule, representing a project that spans the duration of two years. Typically a project that involves engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, and construction will be broken down into various groups, or phases. The actual distinction between phases is subjective and can be assigned on a per project basis. For one project it might make sense to base the phases directly on the engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, and construction sequences. For another project it might make more sense to base the phases on physical areas of work at the project site. The point to understand is that any project can be categorized into groups of work (or phases). Note how, in the graphic above, I have listed 6 phases of work which span across the two year time period. The 6 phases of work, while they encompass the entire project duration, are not equal in duration themselves. Phase I is only 1 month long and Phase II is 7 months long. However, note that the phases follow each other in sequence (this is not a necessity, but is used here for the illustration). When schedules such as these are presented to management, or to the client, the duration and timing of the project and of each phase is extremely important. The reason for this is typically because it is our intent to demonstrate how quickly the project will be completed. After all, time is money. Yet, what if my intentions were to present the schedule of this project to a group of people, not to inform them of the duration of the project, but to definitively state for them who was in charge of the project and to set up the foundation for the six phase pattern I would later use in guiding them? I'd probably give them something like that of Genesis 1.

1 comment:

Alan Grey said...

Hi Rusty,
Have left comments over at

God Bless