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The new formula for learning things and impact on project planning

I just watched a TEDxCSU video. It has forced me to think about how I estimate projects and deliverable dates. As the presenter describes it in order to learn a new task or skill:

  • 10,000 hours to be an expert (5yrs working fulltime)
  • 20 hours to be good enough (45 minutes a day will take a month)
(he is careful to say that 20 hours is qualified with all barriers removed)

For me the number are interesting when planning a new project or assignment and presumably the numbers shift based on complementary skills and knowledge. And you have to ask yourself how much do you need to know in order to be that expert. And what about relearning so you can make changes.

(how is pairing going to effect these numbers)

For me that even the smallest assignments are going to take anywhere from 8 to 16 hours just to get back up to speed before the actual work begins. Except in the rarest cases when the assignment dovetails with the last assignment.

This past weekend I started working with the Amazon ItemSearch APIs. After 4 hours I have just barely enough information to know that I do not know enough but I'm starting to develop a table of contents for the things I need to be effective. After watching this video and making the connections It's gonna take me another 16 hours to get where I need to be.

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