Agile Thinking

5 Time Thieves and How to Evade Them

How many times have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m going to get so much done today!” and then—nope. How does that happen? What evil forces are getting in the way of productivity? In an article for the Enterprisers Project, kanban expert Dominica DeGrandis outlines five “time thieves” and how to handle them:

  • Too much work in progress (WIP)
  • Conflicting priorities
  • Unknown dependencies
  • Unplanned work
  • Neglected work

Criminal Behavior

DeGrandis believes that having too much WIP is a result of saying yes to requests too often. It is bad to place more value in people-pleasing than in ensuring that your team is actually physically capable of completing its work. However, there is more than one way to end up with too much WIP. Having conflicting priorities is another way that WIP can crop up. When someone needs you to take on more work, show how that work is prioritized compared to other jobs, and explain the process by which work is prioritized. If the person is not happy with that, then he or she can go fight it out with other stakeholders instead of you.

Another thing that can put a hard halt on your progress is the emergence of unknown dependencies, which might be architectural or expertise-related. Each type of dependency must be handled in a different way:

  • Decompose the monolithic IT architecture into microservices to reduce dependencies.
  • Organize software development teams by product instead of project to reduce complex dependency-driven handoffs during releases to production.
  • Reduce delays from unknown or invisible dependencies and help teams anticipate what’s headed their way by using dependency matrices.

Lastly, there are unplanned work and neglected work. Unplanned work comprises emergencies and alleged emergencies. And neglected work can actually turn into unplanned emergency work over time too. In any case, it is a good practice to always factor time for unexpected work into the day.

For additional tips and insights, you can view the original article here:

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