Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & Flow

I ask this question daily: How can we optimize workflow?

I’m reading an excellent new book called Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & Flow. The book highlights the five thieves of time that we all encounter daily:

  • Too much work-in-progress (WIP). Keep in mind that “WIP” refers to work in all stages, not just in a Connectwise “In Progress” status. It might be a sales opportunity, something in triage or dispatch process, or waiting status, or planning status etc.
  • Unknown dependencies
  • Unplanned work
  • Conflicting priorities
  • Neglected work

The book is written by Dominica DeGrandis, a leader in the Lean, Flow, and Kanban world. As you probably know, I love the Phoenix Project novel by Gene Kim etc. I view Making Work Visible as a plain English implementation guide, with lots of graphical examples of how to layout Kanban boards, visualize neglected work etc etc. Check out her Youtube videos as well about Kanban and IT Operations.

Signs that you have too much work in progress:

  • Context switching is common
  • Your customers wait for long periods of time
  • Quality suffers
  • Irritated staff, because interruptions thwart deep thinking
  • Someone asks you if you have five minutes and you say yes. We get more endorphins from saying Yes, enough that even grouchy people say Yes.

Kanban gives us the freedom to finish work and take pride in what we do.

Let me know if you found this mini-book-review interesting and useful! It has certainly challenged us to rethink how we are using Kanban with our own MSP, IT Consulting, and Development teams. It is also helping us dream up nifty visualization enhancements for the CW Kanban roadmap.