Sound exaggerated, right? Well, at least until you experience the first of three wastes responsible for that loss firsthand. So try the fun/infuriating exercise in the video below and then come on back.
Unfortunately, what you just experienced is only one of the wastes in new products. The three different types of waste caused by conventional project and resource management practices. But still, maybe you doubt how much multitasking really goes on in your company. Okay, then ask around your team.
You’ll be shocked to learn how many people get interrupted with other work multiple times per day. Maybe even per hour. What a shame that so few people get to stay in that natural, productive state of flow.
Instead, imagine your projects all flowing like a new product relay race. Each runner picking up a single task from the previous runner and working as fast as they can until they finish. Then handing it on the next runner. Runners don’t stop after an hour, go work on something else, and then come back to the race 2 days later. No, they focus and finish. Handoff. Focus and finish. Over and over as the project continually flows towards the finish line.
With the difference you experienced in the video, envision how much more productive your team would be if everyone spent more of their time in that state of flow instead of firefighting and in meetings trying to figure out how to get projects back on track.
But knowing that multitasking is one of the root causes of waste is not enough. I’ve seen managers train their people using the exercise and then mandate: “No Multitasking Allowed.” After a few weeks, everyone is multitasking away and on to the next new productivity idea. That’s because we’re talking about a cultural change, and that means people, process and technology all have to be involved as part of a lasting solution. And multitasking isn’t the only issue you’re going to need to attack.
If a 50% bump in new products would change your business, here’s a link to an easy to read download that shares the same strategies that I’ve used to personally help dozens of NPD teams eliminate the waste and uncover their hidden innovation capacity.