Nine women, one month

Posted by Doc
Jun 11 2009

Among the other things we talk about so frequently in the Agile community is commitment. Do you know the story of the Pig and the Chicken?

Commitment is about being there.  Commitment is about being available to your teammates.  Commitment is about having a roughly equal level of investment in the project.

In too many organizations, “they” treat team members as if they don’t need to be committed.

“Oh, you can work on that project and these other two. You can handle it.”

What they ignore are two things:

  1. Multitasking doesn’t work. Research has been done, reports have been written, and it just doesn’t work. The individual gets frustrated and stressed, and doesn’t do their best on either/any.
  2. It’s not just about the individual, it’s about the team.

Here are some writings and thoughts about multitasking, particularly in the Agile world:

  • http://www.think-box.co.uk/blog/2007/07/dont-multitask.html
  • http://www.stickyminds.com/sitewide.asp?Function=edetail&ObjectType=ART&ObjectId=14287
  • http://www.dennisstevens.com/2009/04/23/reducing-multi-tasking-key-to-productivity/
  • http://agilecommons.org/posts/845ad5e48c

Without much effort you can find more.

So why is it that it’s so obvious to so many of us that multitasking is not effective and not efficient, and is actually detrimental to the individual and the team, and yet still the “leaders” seem to push it and push it?

If it’s gonna take a month to do something, and a month to do another something, then one person will probably take more than two months if they try to do them both at the same time. On the other hand, if they are allowed to focus on one at a time…

I’m not saying that organizations shouldn’t do multiple projects. I’m saying that individuals do their best work when they can focus on one project/task and work it to completion. Anything else is self-defeating.

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    Steven List: Nine women, one month: Among the other things we talk about so frequently in the Agile community is.. [link to post]

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    RT @athought: Blogged: Nine women, one month [link to post]

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  6. Marcy says:

    Steven have you read The Myth of Multitasking by Dave Crenshaw?

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