You don’t have time to make things better. All you’re doing is just getting up every day and trying to avoid disaster.

Daniel Norton

The above quote from a recent MIT Sloan article resonated with me. I see examples each week of teams so busy trying to keep up with inbound requests that they don’t have time to evaluate if/when/how they should be done. Urgency is quickly confused with importance.

Unlike physical production, knowledge work piles up in places that are invisible to others, e.g., unread emails, to-do lists, thoughts in one’s head, etc. Without a visual representation of the work in process, the burden of workflow management shifts from subject matter experts and management to the individuals doing the work.

What jumped out to me, hidden within the author’s eight steps, was applying agile concepts to process improvement management: meta-CPI. If we practitioners help others think about how to improve workflow, should we not also think about how we can improve our management of it?

Organizations exist for some end, and it takes people to progress toward it. Tim Keller teaches that labor fears overproduction while management fears underproduction. Leaders can better balance both by creating a visual representation of potential process improvements and using employee preference to focus collective effort.

A quick personal update

I’m taking a new job in North Carolina this June and will split my time between being on site and at home. I want to maximize my time at each, so will put WFLD on hold until life slows back down. Ironically, my previous musings caught the eye of some of the staff in my top executive’s front office, and I’ll begin my most extensive “consulting” gig after the holidays. More to follow as I put my money/reputation where my mouth is!

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