Simplicity Factor: How Workload Relates To Capacity

This section of the portal is for supporting the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant Workshop (DAVSC), currently under development. Discussions on the pages here will take place on the Disciplined Agile LinkedIn group.


Back to Dealing with Complexity by Creating a Bias For Simplicity 

Why look at this

When workload exceeds capacity people tend to multi-task. This:

  • makes people less effective
  • causes delays in the workflow and in getting feedback which creates waste
  • delays the realization of value
  • makes it difficult to collaborate

Symptoms that work load is beyond capacity

  • People are working on too many projects
  • Work takes much longer than it should
  • Projects being worked on by many people part time

What causes this

Common causes are:

  • there is no controlled intake process. Note that the intake process includes how work waiting to be started is sized and sequenced.
  • product managers tell teams what they have to work on
  • no list of work in process across the development organization is being maintained
  • the work to be started is larger than it needs to be
  • MVPs are being used improperly

What we want to achieve

Work being pulled by the teams when they have the capacity to do the work.

Common solutions

The intake process is usually the weak point when teams are overloaded. It is the first place to look for improvement. Reasons for this include that this can be done with minimal reorganization of the value streams. It also has the greatest impact on the value streams since it sets up how much and what people work on.

  • Create visibility on all work in the system
  • Right-size the work waiting to be started using MVPs, MBIs, and MVRs appropriately
  • Sequence work to be pulled
  • Create a focus on finishing

Other simplicity factors that are directly related to this one

  1. The value density of the items being worked on
  2. Batch size of work
  3. How workload relates to capacity
  4. The value creation structure of the organization
  5. Effectiveness/efficiency of the value streams
  6. Visibility of work and workflow 
  7. Quality of the product
  8. Culture of the organization

This chapter was an excerpt from FLEX for the Disciplined Agilist: FLow for Enterprise Transformation (online book). It has been edited to fit into the Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant workshop. The Table of Contents for the book is here.