Challenge: The TWiG Game

Jun 24, 2022 2:24 pm

Happy Friday,

It seems that no matter how many times I work with groups or even the same ones there's a question that will always come up that has to do with getting a team to do more than one thing at a time.

I take a pretty firm stand on this subject and make work sequential by nature which drives most managers insane.

For some reason, people's instinct is that if you jam as much stuff into a pipe as you can, you will get more things out of it instead of clog it.

Anyway, there's a lot of math and research behind my approach, and I wanted to just touch on some of it and then let you play a game.

Why does sequential work better than parallel? Well, let's start with what most people have as common knowledge which is that context switching eats twenty percent of your productivity. So if you have teams bounce between multiple things they lose twenty percent each hop. I've measured this before with teams and it's shocking how busy people can get and not get anything done.

Next, we can look at this from Little's Law which says that throughput---the rate at which things complete is a function of how long it takes and its position. I don't know about you, but if I wanted to change the rate at which work gets done, the easiest thing for me to change is the position of work. This happens to mean stop jamming too much work down and keep the limit of things worked on low.

What happens when I follow this law? Work completes in 1/3rd of the time.

Let me give an example. If your team that is doing a 2-week sprint has work that typically takes 21 days---which is very common, they'll begin to finish that same work in seven days.

If they completed work in 21 hours they'll begin to complete it in 7. That's one I've actually seen too.

So, here's the game that was put together by a friend of mine. You get to sequence work across multiple teams and see how quickly you can do it. It's hard, but see what your metrics are at the end.

Try it the way your gut says, then try it the way I'll recommend--only have 2-3 things worked at a time total.

Let me know how you do!

Here's my weekly update for June 24th, 2022...

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They’re a wonderful tool for rapidly creating options and representing a product or business.

So I thought I’d share a bit about getting started with them.

Click here to read more

🗒️ Why I Killed Two Products


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I’ve gone through killing two products recently, and I wanted to share that experience.

Click here to read more

🗒️ Get Started With Development and Product Metrics


There is so much heartburn when picking and implementing some metrics.

So in this article, I want to give a pretty quick overview of my approach and some ideas to start with.

But before I get too far into it, I want to start with a message:

Click here to read more


Ryan Latta