If you read my previous post “Too much work?, Scope in!” you might have said to yourself that “throttle the feeding of work into the development organization” is just not possible in my organisation!

Well here is another even more radical claim: Your lack of capacity in the development organization may very well be self-chosen.

You may have taken a corporate decision to run the development organization on their knees, pushing new development into the organization and not doing any improvement work at all. This decision may even be the best thing to do at certain times in a product life-cycle.

Most organizations do not take this decision consciously. They over-promise to customers. They make up the importance of stuff and everything is equally super-important. This will increase cost and lead-times exponentially and quality will go down the drain. There will be no time left for improvements in the product, process or organization. Some even reach deadlock.

To get out of this trap I recommend that you do a quick analysis of the work you put into the development organization and split it in something like the following:

  1. Requirements which are critical for your survival. Must requirements. Fixed date requirements. This can be new law requirements, a date for an important demo at a conference or a delivery date for beating a competitor.
  2. Requirements which should be implemented to match the market or fulfilling your organization’s mission.
  3. Requirements which can be implemented to improve the product or offer.

This analysis should show how much work (in percent) you have in each category. Work you have limited control over fall into category 1. The other two categories you actually have a lot of control over.

If hypothetically you find that 20% of your capacity need to reserved for category 1 requirements you have 80% capacity left to play with. Reserving 10% of the capacity for improvements projects doesn’t seem so difficult after all, does it?

Emil Vikström

Copyright © 2014 Emil Vikström. All Rights Reserved.

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