multitasking

Throughput: Why Salary Costs Matter Less Than You Think They Do

Dan, a VP, knows he needs more people to get the work done. Suzanne, one of the directors, starts to hire and realizes she has several problems. First, their salary bands are too low—candidates want more money. In addition, the people want to collaborate more than the existing people seem to. She meets with Dan …

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How and When to Use Timeboxes, Iterations, and Sprints to be Most Effective

A colleague unfamiliar with lifecycles or agility asked, “How can we use sprints in this approach?” and pointed to a phase-gate approach with documentation deliverables after each phase. It looked just like the serial lifecycle in the image on the left. (That’s because a finance person drew the lifecycle.) I said, “You can’t use ‘sprints.’ …

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See and Resolve Team Dependencies, Part 4: All Component Teams, Complex Product

The larger your product, the more likely you have components teams. I often see component teams because of the architecture of the product. In this first image, the Integrated System Program, the rest of the product uses the Platform of Common Services as components. Also, the teams find it tempting to think of the common …

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See and Resolve Team Dependencies, Part 3: Some Component Teams, Some Feature Teams

Continuing the series on dependencies… Maybe you don’t have the problem where the team creates internal dependencies with their process. And you don’t have to wait for someone outside the team to approve your work—an organizational process. But you do have a combination of platform/component teams and feature teams. I see this most often in …

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See and Resolve Team Dependencies, Part 2: One Person Outside the Team

Does your organization have an enterprise architect or Chief Product Person? We create these positions to check that the teams don’t try to implement something “wrong.” However, a single person in this position creates bottlenecks and dependencies. (A committee might create even tighter bottlenecks.) Those dependencies slow the work. If a person delays the work, …

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See and Resolve Team Dependencies, Part 1: Inside the Team

Even when managers try to create cross-functional teams, the teams still have dependencies. Dependencies slow and make finishing the work more difficult. Too many teams have a built-in dependency creator—code review. When we take time to perform code review after we write the code (or the tests), we create dependencies between the people on the …

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Leadership Tip 12: Focus on Effectiveness, Not Efficiency

Many of us focus on how efficient we can be. Many of our organizations want to maximize our output for every minute and hour of work. However, if we focus on effectiveness first, we create better outcomes for everyone. We don’t waste time working on things that don’t matter. An Example of Moving from Efficiency …

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Three Ideas to Boost Your Productivity

Three Ideas to Boost Your Productivity Several Pragmatic Manager subscribers have asked me about how to build and maintain their productivity. They say they have these problems: The longer they work apart from other people, the less they have the “peer pressure” of a collaborative schedule. They find it hard to maintain focus for a long time. …

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Project Portfolio Problems Masquerade as Project Problems

A potential client called me. “What’s a good tool to see the state of my projects? I need a tool.” I asked, “What problems do you see?” “Everything is late. No one’s synchronized. I can’t tell where the projects are.” “How many projects do you have in progress?” “At least 100.” (I was pretty sure …

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Saying No to More Work

If you are like most people I know, it doesn’t matter what approach you take to your projects—your manager has too much work for you to do. Instead of a potential career-limiting conversation, frame the conversation so you can show your manager you’re considering his or her perspective. Here are some options for how to …

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