Answer to the Quick Riddle…

My goodness, I guess we project managers just love to waste time. Very gratified to see all the responses, though. I didn’t know how this would be received, perhaps with cudgels for not being serious about such a serious subject as project management. Now I don’t know if I should ever post anything that isn’t frivolous!

Both Bill and RH pointed out that if we go from April 1st of one year to May 31st of the next, there’s “bags of time”. While this is not the answer I was looking for, it’s my own fault for not framing the question better. Trust project managers to figure out a loophole in the contract!

The answer I was looking for was actually supplied by marcthibault. His posted response here suggested that he was on the right track, and when I emailed him it turned out he was.

The answer that I conceived, and that works, and that marcthibault figured out, is what I would term the Passepartout Solution. Jean Passepartout was the valet of of Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne’s 1873 novel Around the World in 80 Days. When Fogg finally returns to London after circumnavigating the globe, he thinks that it has taken 81 days and he has therefore lost his wager of 20,000 pounds (about $2 million in today’s money). However, his valet Passepartout discovers that, while 81 days have indeed passed for them, because they traveled from west to east they have gained a day on the calendar and only 80 days have passed in London.

So the answer to the riddle is simply to have the resource doing the work travel, perhaps by ship, from west to east across the International Dateline during the course of the project.

I’ll try to make a more serious blog post later today. Meanwhile, thanks so much for the responses.

Fraternally in project management,

Steve the Bajan

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