We have a new puppy in the house – yard actually. Pound Puppy this time. Enough with the Corgi’s. Wonderful dogs, shed too much and as they say in the dog book next to their picture – “Corgi’s are Chatty.” That’s a code word for barks at everything that enters their field of vision. In Wales they herd cattle. In Colorado they try to herd golfers on the course the parallels the back fence.
New dog is a jumper – Grey Hound mix – so the next course of welded wire is going up on the split rail fence. Teenagers doing most of the work. Across the street a similar fencing project is taking place. The group consensus is that teenagers have not yet figured out the Gray Beards Axiom
Cut the long pieces first
This means if I have 5 8' 2x4’s and the task of making three gates from this wood, I should cut the longest pieces (top and bottom rails) first from the 8-footers. What’s left will be candidates for the short pieces (posts) of the gate. These are split rail gates, so the corners have iron brackets and a hinge. What happens of course is all the short pieces are cut from the 8-footers and there is not enough material for the long pieces.
No matter what the feral project managers have to say, the project Critical Path is always present. It may change. It may change on a hourly basis at some constrained level of variance. But it is always there. Most likely the stable CP is there for the duration of the project. It does not usually change. Pouring concrete has to come before setting the wall footers. Installing the DB engine comes before defining the tables. Building the ASIC comes before testing the navigation interface.
So like cutting the materials for the fence – find out what the longest pieces are first. Define them. Cut them. See what’s left. If you need more material, the feed store / lumber yard is only 4 miles away, that the truck and get some more.
In the end though laying out the longest pieces over the available 2x4’s is the better approach. Look at the incremental length – in this case 8 feet. What are the longest pieces inside the 8 feet that can be cut from the 8-footers. Lay that out first. Look to see if there is sufficient material left in each 8-footer for the remaining pieces. This is a “bin fitting” problem.
Same approach works for work assignments inside an iteration or a fixed duration planning cycle.
the long work first, the rest will have to fit into what is left
No room, get more help, toss the work
There is now such thing as a “board stretcher”