Why Multitasking Is Killing Your Business

If you believe "multitasking" is productive and positive, you’re literally wasting your time. Consider it a bad fad that you can put in the same lame trend basket as neon leotards, head-to-toe denim, crop crotch pants and mullets.
If you are a boss and believe turning your workers into Chinese acrobats — spinning plates on sticks — will help your business grow, don't delude yourself. Multitasking actually limits your human resources’ potential.
Psychologists have proved in studies that it is impossible for the human mind to completely focus on more than one idea or thought at a time. Try cooking dinner and washing clothes at the same time and you’ll know what kind of disaster you can expect.
Multitasking is like cheating on your loved one— it shows a lack of commitment and focus — and this inevitably leads to a bad outcome. Don’t do it.
Many companies — whether it’s commercial airplanes, construction, high tech or life sciences — operate in a complex project environment. And multitasking in engineering has the potential to cripple organizations due to process inefficiencies, under-utilization of resources, errors, and costly delays.
Recently, a client — the largest suppliers of commercial airplane assemblies and components (can't give a name) — began to suffer engineering and development phase problems due to a culture that emphasized multitasking.
To start with, the company's engineers had multiple customers (Integrated Product Teams, Supply Chain, Manufacturing, Customer Reviews), each of them forcing the engineers to work on their tasks first; this caused the engineers to constantly switch back and forth between designs, which prolonged tasks, reduced efficiencies and hurt quality.
Complicating things was that when engineers multitasked, the overseeing domain experts could not focus on solving any one problem at a time. A vicious cycle resulted in which engineers started even more work while waiting for experts.
The irony is that the lack of full scope definition—specs coming in very small batches, and out-of-order—by the OEM increased the multitasking of engineers and experts alike.
The prototypes made by the engineering department were typically subject to numerous refinements. When engineering was late, not only did it cascade into the manufacturing schedule, but it also led to incomplete scope. The impact was an increase in expediting costs and rework in manufacturing.
All of these problems could be traced back to a culture that promoted multitasking. And that’s why more companies, ranging from Siemens to Hewlett Packard to Boeing, now rely on modern real-time scheduling solutions to balance and schedule resources across multiple projects in real-time instead of wasting your valuable resources by leaving them unfocused. 
Real-time scheduling allows engineering managers to examine workflow, identifying the resource constraints that prohibited them from doing the most work simultaneously. Project releases are staggered to accommodate the resources available by the constraints, and schedules are optimized daily, across projects, based on latest status.
One of the key components of real-time scheduling solution is a 2-Tier task structure that allowed priorities to be adjusted in real-time without hurting synchronization for cross-functional teams. Another was automatic, daily recalculation of priorities for managers as well as resources.
In the book Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz asserts, “Peak performers virtually worship at the altar of 'focus' and 'concentration,' working tirelessly to achieve it, for very good reason: Concentration is a major key to minute-by-minute success in any endeavor.”
The hardest thing about being successful is not your business's mechanics — it’s keeping teams focused that makes the difference. A modern real-time scheduling solution ensures your teams are focused and concentrated on the most pressing tasks at hand and not spinning plates on sticks.
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