Another h𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗽𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄.. Humans aren't designed to multi-task
The agile manifesto advocates responding to change over following a plan. I believe this is an admirable aspiration, however too much change can be harmful;
How many times have you experienced any or all of the below pitfalls?
- Teams 𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗻'𝘁 𝗮𝗯𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗳𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀 due to regular priority change or outside interference
- Technical debt has built up to the point that 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗼𝗿𝗸 𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝘂𝘁 𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 to focus on bugs or live
- A build up of work in progress or things being 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗱, 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗳𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗱
All of the above can 𝗯𝗿𝗲𝗲𝗱 𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.
When we complete a task, we get a sense of closure. It's cathartic, and when achieved with a team, we get a hit of serotonin which can boost our mood. Constantly switching context or multi-tasking can prevent this.
𝗢𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗼𝗼𝗹𝗯𝗲𝗹𝘁
- 𝗔𝘀𝗸 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 - Explore together how they can reduce multi-tasking. Retrospect with them and seek to understand where they are currently feeling pain and what experiments they could try to reduce it.
- 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗵𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝘁 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹𝘀 - Play 'The Virtual Name game' with stakeholders to explore how it feels to be constantly context switching. You can find a video about this game here;
- 𝗘𝗻𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗪𝗜𝗣 𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘁𝘀 & 𝘀𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗴 - Help the team to stop starting and start finishing. Introduce work in progress limits to prevent teams taking on too many items concurrently and invite them to 'swarm' around already committed work to focus on completing them. You may even wish to introduce a question to the daily standup which centres around 'How I can help my team complete our current commitments'