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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Get More Done by Doing Less

Most of us get paralysed when faced with a large and complicated undertaking.  Jason Yip gives some tips on how to get it done from Ignite Sydney this past August.  Jason is a Principal Consultant with ThoughtWorks focused on Agile and Lean Software Development.

Stop Starting and Start Finishing

Some keypoints from the video:
1. The more projects you work on the less time you have for any one project. (A recent study showed that office employees who were interrupted while they worked took an average of 25 minutes to get back to what they started.)
2. Can make more mistakse mulititasking.
3. We can't see things piling up so the first step is to visualize the work load.
4. Next step is to limit the number of things we are going to do simultaneously.
5. Get stuff done quicker by doing less at one time.
6. Shoving more stuff into the process doesn't help anyone.
7. Limiting workload creates an environment of teamwork.
8. Measure cycle time of certain types of work so you can give a lead time.
9. Use root cause analysis to fix problems so they don't reoccur.
10. Doing more stuff is not important, finishing them is.

On Jason's blog he shared a version of the presentation from Sydney which he subtitled An Introduction to Kanban.

Jason expands on his previous steps adding several new points.  For performance measures he suggests several that are not just time based:

1. Productivity - cycle time, ROI
2. Quality - defects, customer satisfaction
3. Cost - burn rate, cost per item, total project cost
4. Morale - engagement, employee satisfaction. 

As you work to improve your efficiency and that of your organization I think Jason provides a number of great concepts to consider in your process.  Multitasking in this sense is really the essence of Muri.  Muri is a Japanese term for overburden, unreasonableness or absurdity.  Stop the maddness.  Start focusing.  Accomplish more.

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1 comment:

  1. Tim,

    Another good post! It's pretty clear that multitasking is a farce and trying to do too much is ineffective. It's surprising to see that it takes 25 minutes to get back to the task at hand once interrupted. I suspect that people get involved in other less important tasks....This is great motivation to keep some of those projects on the back burner instead of forcing it into someone day.