Help Your Teams Start Less and Deliver More
As a leader, you are under pressure to deliver on every demand. High-stakes annual planning creates a rush to get resources and start new work. Each day brings more fires to fight and “must-do” items. Your teams are drowning in assignments and deliverables.
If this rings true for you, consider the impact this is having on your teams. They may be worn out, feeling discouraged, wondering if they are adding any value, and yearning to finish and accomplish more.
Find Focus to Finish More
A common blocker to a team’s progress is having too much work in progress (WIP). This creates lengthy work queues, wasted efforts, and long delivery times. Even the most motivated and dedicated teams struggle to get things done under these circumstances.
You can help your teams find focus by:
- Aligning work to capacity
- Setting clear priorities
- Limiting work in progress
Aligning Work to Capacity
Work with your teams to understand the capacity they have for project work. Have them estimate how much time they spend on day-to-day operational work each week. Look for ways to drop or be more efficient with low-priority operational items. This creates more capacity for strategic work. Engage the teams and allow them to pull project work based on their available capacity. Help them reserve capacity in their plans to be more predictable.
Setting Clear Priorities
Gather and define the planned operational and strategic work. Bring together the leaders, stakeholders, and team members involved in the work. As a group, use an agreed-upon model to rank the work. Visualize the results by value and effort to identify quick wins, game changers, and work to avoid.
Limiting Work in Progress
Reduce the amount of work the teams have in progress. When your work is predictable and planned, create short time-boxes for delivery. The Scrum framework is a great solution to achieve this. When most of your work is emergent and unplanned, create limits on how much work can be in progress. Use a kanban board to visualize the workflow and create the work-in-progress limits. Either process will result in more focus, less waste, and greater efficiency.
Making a Difference
When you provide focus, your teams are able to deliver. When they can deliver at a sustainable pace, they are less stressed and more motivated. Creating focus is a mindset shift to starting less and finishing more. It requires creating buy-in and making tough decisions on priorities.