This website covers topics on knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Put it in park, then drive

PRND321My friend (and neighbor) Johanna Rothman has a piece in her newsletter which she calls, Park Projects You Can't Staff, For Now.  It's a very good way of describing the common problem businesses put themselves into: too much work in process.

How many projects are you working on now? If you're like most people, groups, and organizations, the answer is more than one. You, your group, and organization are suffering from multitasking. That means that you have more projects than you have people to staff them. It's time to park some work.

Of course, people are working on multiple projects.  From management's perspective, we push projects into the system to ensure that people are "always busy" under the belief that people are a waste.  (Which itself is a belief that if someone isn't ON a project, they must be idle.)  And from the individual contributor's perspective, they cannot say "no" or otherwise refuse once management activates a project that requires their expertise. 

The solution: park those excess projects.  The project isn't canceled or stopped, it's just in park until the system can afford to pick up this project and put it in high gear.  And parked means that no work is done on that project until management puts it back into drive.

By the way, while cutting work-in-process is a good idea in itself, organizations have interesting ways of pushing more work back into the system.  To make this stick, this needs to be part of a larger effort to improve management of the organization.

[Image: "PRND321" by Taylor Nelson]

So, how do you improve conference calls?

Leading Change by John Kotter