Truth. There will always be more work to do than is possible to accomplish by my team. Think more. Whine less. Earlier this year I penned some thoughts about thinking through resource contention, Do more with what you have!, because I was looking for better ways to address resource contention than to simply say more people are needed. Getting stuff done is as much a mindset as it is a collection of work output. I’ve learned that when I am overwhelmed with size of the backlog of tasks then the frequency of my output decreases. In the book, ReWork, Fried and Hansson address the value of staying lean with less, “I don’t have enough time/money/people/experience.” Stop whining. Less is a good thing. Constraints are advantages in disguise. Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got. There’s no room for waste. And that forces you to be creative.
Just in time. Picture this. You are reviewing a list of tasks that was assigned to colleagues in your business. You remind one of the task owners their action item is due tomorrow and they respond, “I have it on my list, but I’m operating just-in-time.” This happened to me recently. The word choice “just in time” (JIT) is from a Lean concept in which production output is managed by when the customer requests delivery rather than when the producer can complete the task. Most office workers today don’t match-up their behavior with Lean Principles. But even if you aren’t a Lean practitioner, there is tangible value to considering the JIT approach. One of the primary goals of JIT is to eliminate waste by not working or storing excess inventory. For this blog post, I’m writing about assignments, tasks, and action items for office personnel. Think of excess inventory as
Deja Vu I recorded a few rambling thoughts one day after work this week. That’s how many of my blog posts originate. Things happen through the course of a day that stick with me into the evening. When I jot down my thoughts, I see interactions with people, process observations, desires for a better solutions, and things I want to change. This week I looked over my notes and thought, “What do I want to be known for?” It’s a question I knew I had asked myself in the past. Three years ago, I wrote a post entitled What are you known for? In that post I expressed my desire to be known more for providing solutions over following processes. I’m a practitioner of following processes, but the process itself isn’t bigger than the results it provides. Dr. No Fast forward to today. The Information Technology landscape is increasingly burdened
Listen to the clues. This week was not unlike many others. I had multiple conversations with colleagues about the amount of work expected of them. Common phrases include: “We don’t have enough resources.” “I’m overworked.” “We are working hard, but are we working smart?” “I’m drowning.” “Are we working on the right things?” “I plan my day with important activities, but then urgent activities take my time.” Thoughtful answers to this classic dilemma usually involve some form of level loading to try to even-out and prioritize the work expected from employees. Last year I wrote about one technique my group uses to try to control the volume of input on our development team leads. One the biggest challenges in controlling work inputs is a concept I call organizational entropy. I define organizational entropy as a measure of disorder or randomness by which work is created within a company. This ultimately
We’ve all seen the consequences of texting and driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has education content for public awareness campaigns. But, do you think we have a myopic focus on cell phones as the device providing the distraction? Touch screens and electronic functions built-in the latest automobiles can provide as much temptation and distraction as cell phones. Cars today come with a variety of electronic options including GPS navigation, bluetooth audio, streaming music services, and yes even texting. My car has a text function that is part of the bluetooth handsfreelink feature. The feature only shows messages when the car is stopped. However, it will read messages out loud using a text-to-speech module when the car is in motion. I use the physical controls to manipulate the function. But wait, there’s more. This feature also allows me to select pre-written replies using the physical knobs in front of