21Mar

iStock_000000250015Small-300x199Here’s a common scenario:

Company X is having a significant issue in getting a project moving with multiple delivery groups (Vendors, Consultants, Contractors and Company X staff).  Things are moving incredibly slowly as getting people on the same page is a  frustrating effort.  Resources are split among many projects.

Which makes it look very efficient:

  • Bob is 50% on Project A, 20% Project B, 30% Project C.
  • Bob is fully Utilized!
  • The projects have just the amount of Bob everyone needs!
  • SUPERFANTASTIC!
  • But it’s not just Bob that’s working 3 jobs, Mae is on Project A, C and D!

And this is the crux of the problem.  To make our HR, budget and utilization numbers efficient we’ve destroyed the ability of team members to effectively and naturally work together.  They have been Multitasked to oblivion.  Scheduling Bob, Mae and the rest of the team is a full time job.  Even then, somebody misses the workshop due to a more important meeting on another project.  By the time they get the information, either they have utilized many other team members time to catch up, or, the info is lost.   Add to that, the infighting among different projects jockeying for Bobs time due to overlapping critical deliverable dates and we’ve added 3-4 resources just to deal with all the overhead and inefficiencies.  PMs compensate by adding more Bobs and Maes to the project because 50% of 1 is really 30%.  We’ve reduced the effectiveness of everybody involved and increased the complexity with more people to manage. Companies ask why they have so many resources on a project?….That’s why!

The complex projects that succeed have everyone in close proximity,  where the magic of human communication doesn’t get lost in the inefficiency of meeting planning, broken telephone and scheduling.   Ensuring the effective communication with all parties at the same table, focused on one end goal is the greatest gift of agile management.

If organizations just did this 1 thing..give projects dedicated and focused team members, they would reap the majority of the benefits in moving to agile.  The utilization numbers may not be as great to the bean counters, but, the fact your project was delivered on time and you didn’t increase an entire teams project burn rate will more than make up for it.  At Greenlight, we ensure our consultants and teams are single minded and focused on the project at hand.  Being Swiss Army Knives and fully utilized in many different capacities on a single project makes the bean counters happy too :)