Most people are aware of the perils of multitasking – it is bad for productivity, increases the possibility of distractions, and basically creates a mental traffic jam. It not only wreaks havoc in everyday life but also causes major problems on projects. If you look at OUM you might be thinking, “Hey wait! Isn’t the fact that OUM’s processes run in parallel and that it takes a cross-functional approach really multitasking?” My
response to you (to borrow from Lee Corso) is, “Not So Fast, My Friend!”
The answer is directly related to magnitude of the shifts in focus. We know that those broad deviations in requirements and technology require more adjustment and time to switch gears. Human brains are
okay with shifting tasks within reasonable limits. On a well managed OUM project, the team is focused on a discrete, prioritized list of functionality and
technology. Only a limited number of logically grouped requirements are being worked at a time in order to achieve specific milestones. This means there is a narrow span of scope being addressed at any point in the project, even there may be a wide range of tasks and processes in play.
Extensive detours such as new requirements and major shifts in priorities are the catalysts that can lose the project to the nemesis known as multitasking. Fortunately, OUM has a number of tools to keep the focus and guard against the multitasking brain drain – timeboxes, MoSCoW lists, use cases, and system context diagrams...just to name a few.
What are some tools you use to keep your projects focused? Please share with us in the comments section below!