Monday, February 27, 2017

Doing More, With Less - No man is an island

It is noted "No man is an island.
No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others."
This saying comes from a sermon by the seventeenth-century
English author John Donne.

As in real life you might of looked around yourself once at work
and seen it as true! Much in a way with Walmart as how they treat their
workers. When I worked at Walmart they wanted me to get those 2500 lbs
pallets done even though it took like 10+ minutes to take the pallet from the
back storeroom to the aisle then the same back because of the bad jacks.
I would kick over the whole pallet that is 6 to 7 feet tall to work on it.
And I even worked two aisles at the same time. Every 15 minutes I would
bounce back and forth. Why? Half ass is better than no ass at all!
One aisle done is less than two aisles half done... Share the wealth!

I once told a harassing manager at Walmart,
"I can only work faster at one place at one time,
I will work faster over there when I am done working faster over here!"

Anyway doing more with less means more of less!
Really you get what you pay for!
Like the Overloaded car story. This is what do more with less really is!

~~~~Vastly Overloaded Car - The Complete Story
The stupidity of some people in this world never fails to amaze me.
The photo above was taken in Waldorf, Maryland by a Transportation
Supervisor for a company that delivers building materials for 84 Lumber.
When he saw the overloaded red Jetta there in the parking lot of IHOP,
he went and bought a disposable camera to take pictures.
Note the exhaust smoke, indicating that the car is running.

A woman is either asleep or otherwise zonked out in the front seat passenger
side. Witnesses said the physical state of both the guy and woman was
"other than normal." Note than in addition to the lumber on the roof, the back seat
contains ten 80-pound bags of concrete! Home Depot estimated the load weight
at 3000 lbs.

~~~~Exposing the Myth of “Doing More With Less”
We first heard it in the early 00s–Executives and Managers saying,
“We’ll just have to do more with less.” Well-intentioned at first, for some it soon
became a poor alternative to managing effectively. While in specific situations the
statement can be temporarily true, in most cases, we believe that those who proclaim
and perpetuate the myth that this is an appropriate way to manage a workgroup,
department or enterprise, are demonstrating their failure to manage.

What triggers this commentary is a recent workshop we performed for a customer
we have worked with for over 22 years. We have seen them flex, grow, improve,
and cut back, all in response to market conditions, the shape of their business, and their
sense of coming business pressures. We did discuss the dangers of the “more with less”
message with Executives and Managers 8 years ago, and with just a few exceptions,
they have fortunately not fallen into that trap during this latest downturn.
But in my recent sessions in this industry leading business, we detected something
sinister and terrifying.

While employees we encountered demonstrate strong loyalty to the organization,
and show a sense of strong rapport up and down the chain of command,
we detected individual contributors, project managers and managers alike who are
overwhelmed and exhausted. People who have prided themselves on the quality
and efficiency of their work in the past, are now deciding which essential project results
will be eliminated or reduced; which project double-checks to push into post-project
support; which internal customers to choose to fail to respond to.
We have seen this death spiral before.

Jobless Recovery
Many organizations are facing this dilemma, in part because of the uncertainty in the US,
between politics, consumer spending, the high unemployment rate, the threat of possible
hyperinflation, and the unknowns in the next set of policy decisions that will affect business.
These concerns are the root cause of this Jobless Recovery, as businesses are afraid to add
staff to meet current demands, so they continue to manage increasing business with
existing, or remaining staff. And even when they are not using the tired “more with less”
mantra, that is what it looks like to their employees. And, if you think this only affects
project success, this affects the operations side even more than the projects side
of the business.

How To Honestly Do More With Less
In the early 2000s, as we starting hearing the “More With Less” mantra with increasing
frequency, we put together a presentation, aimed at Managers and Executives, about
“Doing More With Less.” In that presentation, we made a number of assertions,
including that most managers who proclaim the need to do more with less were usually
rewarded with much less with less. In other words, they were killing efficiency and
effectiveness, overworking already exhausted team members, damaging morale more,
negatively affecting the quality of the organization’s results more, and damaging the
business unit’s or government agency’s reputation more.
We’re not sure that is the more they were after.

We went on to coach Managers in the ways they really can do more with less. Interestingly
(or not), the same Successful Project Climate guidelines we have recommended for years
remain the best way to measurably do more with less on a sustaining basis and sustainability
has been a recent theme in project management, so it makes sense to apply it to
managing projects:

    * Prioritize better, then staff fewer current projects appropriately, completing each one
better, faster and at lower cost, rather than fragmenting talent across too many projects.

    * Place team members full-time on large projects, at least half-time on medium ones.

    * Eliminate project and ready response priority conflicts.

    * Eliminate, deflect or defer unnecessary interruptions in project work.

    * Position Managers to “carry the water” for the team, pushing barriers out of the way, and demonstrating that the organization works for the team, rather than vice-versa.

    * Measure and manage both effort and results, and recognize and reward achievements.

Nothing more than competent Managers of Project Managers and their teams have done all
along, but these actions are even more important in difficult times.
Most practitioners understand that while teams could perhaps, at peak, produce
10%-20% more results, Managers, internal Customers and Executives have the
power to improve performance by 2x–4x in individual
projects, and 8x—10x in the overall organization over a 3-5 year period.
Now that is an honest and measurable way of Doing More With Less.