Today he tweeted this: “How do you optimize for features? That’s flow efficiency.” Yes, I said that.
There were several Twitter rants about the use of the word “efficiency.” Okay. I can understand that. I don’t try to be efficient as much as I try to be effective.
However, I’ve discussed the ideas of resource efficiency and flow efficiency in several places:
- Resource Efficiency vs. Flow Efficiency (an entire 5-part series with pictures)
- Do You Want More Productivity?
- Coaches, Managers, Collaboration and Agile (a 3-part series)
- Resource Management is the Wrong Idea; Manage Your Project Portfolio Instead
And more. Take a look at the flow efficiency tag on my site.
Here’s the problem with the word, “efficiency.” It’s already in the management lexicon. We can’t stop people from using it. However, we can help them differentiate between resource efficiency (where you optimize for a person), and flow efficiency (where you optimize for features). One of the folks discussing this in the hashtag said he optimized for learning, not speed of features. That’s fine.
Flow efficiency optimizes for moving work through the team. If the work you want is learning, terrific. If the work you want is a finished feature, no problem. Both these require the flow through the team—flow efficiency—and not optimization for a given person.
I’ve mentioned this book before, but I’ll suggest it again. Please take a look at this book: This is Lean: Resolving the Efficiency Paradox.
If I want to change management, I need to speak their language. Right now, “efficiency” is part of their language. I want to move that discussion to helping them realize there is a difference between resource efficiency and flow efficiency.
I hope you decide to join us on the chat (which is about hiring for DevOps). I will be typing as fast as my fingers will go 🙂 And, if you can’t make it or want to talk about flow efficiency, please do comment.