Multitasking

Now let us assume that the schedule system demands that workers start on activities as soon as possible and report the task start to the project manager. Let us assume the person splits his or her time during the day evenly between three activities each of which could be completed in one week with 100% effort on that task alone. When do they complete? If we assume that there is no time lost from dropping each activity every day and having to get back into it, none of the activities is complete until the third week. Multitasking has increased the activity duration for all three projects from one week to three weeks. They have delayed throughput on the first project for two weeks, and on the second for one week.

While most people will acknowledge the facts above, many argue, "It's just not realistic to do otherwise. We have to satisfy multiple needs." They agree with logic that demonstrates that multitasking is a very poor (perhaps the worst) way to meet multiple needs (Figure 3.12). They acknowledge that it deliberately lowers their personal throughput contribution. (Moreover, this still doesn't account for the fact that leaving and returning to tasks usually impacts the total time necessary to complete the task and often the quality of the product.) Nevertheless, many people find it extremely difficult to change this behavior. Purveyors of time-management tools work to resolve this conflict at the personal level.

Peter Marris [1] contends that behavior such as multitasking is a social effect of the more powerful using the less powerful to shield them from uncertainty. In other

Figure 3.11 The multitasking conflict.

One unit of One unit of One unit of throughput throughput throughput

One unit of One unit of One unit of throughput throughput throughput

\

i

A

i

Task A

Task B

Task C

Task A Task B Task C

Three units of throughput

Figure 3.12 Multitasking delays all projects. It also justifies using the longer task times in future plans.

words, management takes advantage of lower-level resources in the organization by creating the pressure that leads to multitasking.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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