“What we discovered with this process change is that when tasks were not done in one day it was an indication of an impediment that no-one had thought to mention, or even acknowledged as an impediment.”
–from the post “Unearthing Impediments by Doing Less” by Tobias Mayer
Found a gem of a post via Twitter. I’ve seen measuring success primarily by hours put in proves highly demotivating and rarely effective for the long term. The entire post linked to above is worth a read, as Mayer gives specific and general advice for tackling and solving large and small problems that every working team faces.
As he coached a team he and the team agreed to measure tasks not in terms of hours but in terms of them being completed within 24 hours. In doing so it surfaced issues and dynamics that were only felt but never discussed until then.
Here’s how Mayer describes the effect:
“Having this team stop measuring partially done work and measure only completed things (tasks and stories) helped them to create an environment of honesty and trust, and helped them to better understand what they could realistically commit to. It also allowed the impediments that were preventing them completing tasks to be surfaced much quicker (usually 24 hours).”
He has resolved to discourage every team he works with to track their progress or weeks in hours! I’ve only seen glimpses of this in my career but am taking some time to think about how to focus myself and those I lead around concise task completion rather than general hourly labor.