Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Organizational Multi-tasking

I had the opportunity to talk to Sanjeev Gupta, the CEO of Realization last week. His company is applying the principles of Critical Chain to help companies out.

We talked about multi-tasking; one of my favorite topics. I often think of multi-tasking at the personal level. If I have one of my developers working on 2 different tasks at once, they are less efficient at both and loss time to context switching. Sanjeev pointed out the organizations multi-task as well, something I don't think about as often, but in hindsight, have observed frequently.

This situation occurs when organizations are trying to run to many projects at once. Teams are getting pulled back and forth; again resulting in all the projects coming in later than they could if a more focused approach was taken. Sanjeev often recommends to clients that they cut back on the number of active projects going at one time. It made me think of Kanban, but at an organizational level; you pick the most important project and get it completely done before starting the next.

The other part of effective delivery from Sanjeev's perspective is ensuring everyone knows the priority of the work at a task level. This is the project manager's job to drive this message. So instead of having a complex project plan with resources assigned to multiple tasks (with no priority), you provide each resource a prioritized task list and have them focus on the highest priority first. Just like having a prioritized product backlog.

So does everyone on your team understand the priorities? Do you find them working on tasks that may not be so important? At an organizational level, does everyone understand the priority of the projects?


Unknown said...

Multi tasking is an important part of working in a company. I am using proofhub and this one is really a good software. In this you can handle projects simultaneously without data loss.

Jeff SKI Kinsey said...

Sorry Elroy, multitasking by knowledge workers destroys company productivity. Consider reading Goldratt's book, "Critical Chain" for an informed vantage point on this topic.