Saturday, January 03, 2009

LRM - Last Responsible Moment

"Never do today what you can put off till tomorrow. Delay may give clearer light as to what is best to be done." - Aaron Burr

"Decisions should be made at the very last responsible moment possible." This is not procrastination but can be viewed as 'inspired laziness.'

This a very hard concept to grasp. Most of are schooled to think 'Do  today what you need to do tomorrow. Do now what you need to do today.'

Last Responsible Moment(LRM) applies only to the actual decision making. LRM is for pulling the trigger. LRM is not the time to start cleaning your rifle. What this means is that you have procured a gun, cleaned it thoroughly, you have filled it with bullets, you have practiced enough, you have taken approximate aim many times. You have been diligently doing everything you need to do to make a successful shot. But, even after doing all this, if you want to make a successful kill, you need to wait till the last moment possible. If you see a herd of deer, it does not make sense to shoot some hapless deer and waste your bullets. You want to spot a big buck which can give a you a great trophy. So, you watch the herd carefully, wait for that big buck to appear in your gun's sight and when you are absolutely sure that if you do not shoot now the buck will disappear, you pull the trigger and take down the buck.

Sorry to use hunting analogy here. It is not something I enjoy or endorse. All form of hunting should be avoided. But, this example came to mind.

Bullets (resources) are limited. By shooting the very first deer you see, you are wasting valuable resources which are need to make the best return on investment.

LRM comes from lean thinking. Lean thinking a generic term applied to agile manufacturing process pioneered by Toyota. Toyota does not build cars in too much advance of customer orders. This is because cars built on anticipated orders result in inventory - dead cash. So, they put off actual manufacturing to closely match the flow of orders.

LRM does not mean procrastination. The point is to use all the available time to do as much research as required, do everything else to ensure that our decision when made at LRM is as successful as it can be. And then when the moment comes, make the decision and move on.

On the other hand, we tend to make decisions too early even when we know that the actual decision is not due now. Naturally we make bad decisions because we have not taken time to analyze and consider all possibilities. So we make a critical decision too early and spend all the available time regretting that decision or reworking the decision. Both are not useful at all.


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