It's more important to improve work than to do work.

Too many managers think improvement will happen magically in people's spare time.
If an organisation has a time recording system, a fun question is to ask how improvement is recorded. Often there are no codes for it.

If people have no headroom to do improvement then it won't happen. You'll be working the same way next year.

We must commit to reducing utilisation below 100%, honour the 80/20 principle. Not Pareto. Instead this is the principle that no more than 80% of work capacity is building new.

There is also a fundamental mathematical axiom of queuing theory that says maximum throughout does not come at maximum utilisation. It usually comes at about 80%. If you are running your work systems - your people - at 100% (or 120%!! As so many IT shops do) you aren't getting maximum productivity out of them because of this axiom.

More importantly, you're not getting maximum productivity because humans aren't machines. Burnout is a huge issue for our industry: the way we treat our people is unsustainable.

Our focus now in a new consulting engagement is to get this commitment to create headroom. Until we get that, the client must understand that we are highly constrained in our ability to get anything done beyond generating awareness and doing discovery.

The organisation will feel pain, feedback will be negative, but we must have capacity to improve. Always. Not for one quarter. For ever.

The quid pro quo is that throughput should improve. But we must be prepared to take a hit or improvement isn't going got happen.

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