We need more people. We don’t have enough resources.
Every week I hear about the conflict between the number of employees in the organization and the amount of work to do. The underlying presumption is the organization can accomplish more by adding more people. The problem with this rationale is it takes the focus of solution delivery off the processes used to deliver solutions. Adding more people to a team is complicated:
- It adds more strain on inter-team communication. Whatever inefficiencies exist in the current team environment will become more apparent with more people.
- It creates the need to train and develop new people in the culture, business, and process flows of your company.
- It moves the process bottleneck to another departmental team. For example, if you add more developers then you need more business analysts for requirements documentation.
- It values urgent things over important things.
There are times when staff should be expanded. But it can’t be arbitrary and because the existing staff feels stressed about the existing workload. A better approach is to first examine the current environment for ways to work smarter and more focused. Process focused leaders look for ways to work smarter knowing that in the long run it will deliver greater capacity and more value added results. I don’t consider this doing more with less. I like to think of these actions as doing more with what you already have. Consider these approaches:
- Write less code – If our first solution to solving a problem is writing code, then we’ve missed the opportunity to solve the problem by simplifying the process. The ultimate solution may require less code. Keep it simple!
- Align value streams to your mission. – The activities we do that should be more important to us are the ones that align to our mission. The mission is a guide-post when deciding between what’s urgent and what’s important.
- Develop existing employees before adding more. – The existing staff can provide more capacity if they work on the right things with more efficient processes. To do more with less we have to believe that getting existing people to understand the power of process efficiency, focus, and alignment adds more capacity. Get employees to work harder, but not before you help them work smarter.
Onward and upward!
Photo Credit: Jim1102 via creative commons.