Management Myth #1: The Myth of 100% Utilization - Johanna Rothman

Too many managers believe in the myth of 100% utilization–the belief that every single technical person must be fully utilized every single minute of every single day. The problem with this myth is that there is no time for innovation, no time for serendipitous thinking, no time for exploration, and it often leads to a less successful organization.

When we are at 100 percent utilization, we have no slack time at all. We run from one task or interrupt to another, not thinking. There are at least two things wrong with this picture: the inevitable multitasking and the not thinking.

We don’t actually multitask at all; we fast-switch.

So, there is a context switch cost in the swapping, because we have to remember what we were thinking of when we swapped out. And that takes time.

So you get people performing their jobs by rote, servicing their interrupts in the best way they know how, doing as little as possible, doing enough to get by. They are not thinking of ways to improve.

Management Myth #1: The Myth of 100% Utilization

Feb 15, 2012
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