Making Work Visible | Dominica Degrandis

Summary of: Making Work Visible: Exposing Time Theft to Optimize Work & Flow
By: Dominica Degrandis


Welcome to the world of ‘Making Work Visible’ by Dominica DeGrandis – a comprehensive guide to optimize workflows, enhance productivity, and lead effectively by using visual management techniques. Through DeGrandis’s expert lens, you gain an understanding of the ‘five thieves’: too much work-in-progress, unknown dependencies, unplanned work, conflicting priorities, and neglected work. DeGrandis shows you how to overcome these thieves by using kanban, flow, and Lean management methods, which provide effective strategies to increase your team’s productivity, reduce costs, and improve overall efficiency. The book illustrates the significance of dependency management and the prioritization of tasks, as well as the importance of visualizing neglected work and implementing Lean methods for efficient team meetings.

Boosting Productivity with Effective Workflow Systems

Dominica DeGrandis offers practical insights in boosting productivity and efficiency by implementing effective workflow systems. As the Principal Flow Adviser at Tasktop, she emphasizes the importance of visual management techniques to enhance leadership and work visibility. Her approach aims to help workers maximize their performance by optimizing their workflow processes. DeGrandis’s book provides essential guidance to professionals seeking to enhance the productivity of their teams and organizations.

Work Smarter with Kanban and Lean

Are you constantly taking up new projects? This can overwhelm your team and cause time theft. In her book, DeGrandis identifies the “five thieves” that can hamper your team’s productivity- too much work-in-progress, unknown dependencies, unplanned work, conflicting priorities, and neglected work. By adopting Lean and Kanban methodologies, you can work smarter, not more. DeGrandis offers invaluable insights to boost your team’s efficiency and streamline your workflow.

Kanban System for Productivity

The kanban system can boost productivity by prioritizing tasks visually to manage work-in-progress. According to DeGrandis, excessive work-in-progress generates delays and drives up costs. The demand for skills always outweighs capabilities, so rejecting tasks beyond one’s capacity is important. Kanban divides tasks into to-do, doing, and done columns and categorizes types of work for ranking their urgency. It allows team members to focus on the most important tasks and tackle new ones when they have the capacity. With a graphical representation of workflow, teams can optimize cycle time and prevent costly delays.

Managing Dependencies to Deliver On Time

Failure to deliver on time can occur in three ways: architecture dependencies, expertise dependencies, and activity dependencies. The more dependencies you have, the higher the chance of failing to deliver on time. In her book, DeGrandis recommends creating a dependency matrix to identify which dependencies create costly delays and eradicate them for timely delivery. You can create the matrix by listing the impactees, people working to create value, and the impactors, people who must complete tasks, and graph the corresponding dependencies. DeGrandis proposes organizing teams around your product rather than projects to prevent dependencies. This ensures people creating your product stay consistently involved and nurtures a streamlined product-oriented process. Removing dependencies not only halves the total possible delay combinations but also doubles your chances of delivering on time for every dependency removed.

Maximizing Team Productivity

Teams that spend more time on reactive tasks and less on value creation are less productive. Using the Pomodoro method, where work is broken down into 25-minute intervals followed by five-minute breaks, can help teams manage their time better, striking a balance between planned and unplanned tasks. Tracking your team’s activities and prioritizing planned tasks will also contribute to maximizing overall productivity.

Overcoming Conflicting Priorities

DeGrandis suggests inserting an “options” column between your kanban board’s to-do and doing columns to prioritize projects that yield the highest value, reduce costs and eliminate unfinished work caused by clashing priorities.

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