26 March 2015

Changing the Tires

You're driving down the highway trying to reach a distant destination. You've had delays such as traffic along the way, and you know that you're going to have to "push it" in order to have any hope at all of arriving on time. You start to feel something strange in the steering wheel. The car seems to be pulling to one side and the steering is rather "mushy". It dawns on you that you're losing air in one of the tires.

Ugh. You've already been delayed, and you really need to get to the destination on time.  Perhaps there's a store that will be closed. Perhaps an important meeting that requires you to be there. Regardless, a tire that's becoming flat will certainly delay you more than you can afford.

So, what do you do?

16 March 2015

Mary Had a Little Lamb - The Power of Shared Understanding

I spend quite a bit of my coaching time helping teams improve how they determine what needs to be built in order to satisfy a business need. I warn them right from the start that they're going to hear me repeat the same term many, many times before they get rid of me. That term is "Shared Understanding".

There's a thinking tool that I use to help people understand what shared understanding means. I go to a whiteboard or flipchart and write the following:
Mary had a little lamb.
I then ask the group what that sentence means.

5 March 2015

The 100% Utilization Myth

Many organizations in which I've coached are concerned when the people on their teams aren't being "utilized" at 100% of their capacity. If someone is at work for 8 hours per day, minus an hour for lunch and breaks, that's 7 hours of potential capacity. Some organizations are progressive enough to see that the organization's overhead of administrative activities lowers that value to 6 hours per day. By extension, a team's capacity is simply a multiple of the number of team members and the number of hours available to be utilized, i.e. a team of 5 has 30 person-hours per day.

So, anything less than 30 person-hours per day spent on tasks means that a team isn't being utilized 100%. Which is bad, apparently.