Systems Thinking – Time Box Resource Deployment

In the last post we talked about resource deployment and how we take individuals in product development and assign them to maybe 5 or more project teams. In fragmenting people this way we undercut their morale and efficiency. A preferable way would be to keep people intact. Assign them to one specific team and have them operate on that team, collaboratively with the other product development team members. A way of doing this is through Timeboxing.

Timeboxing is the translation of Agile Software Development into the Hardware or Systems domain. In timeboxing the individuals assigned to a time box, the engineers and other SME’s, are kept intact while the work that is loaded into the time box is sub-divided and fragmented. A great benefit of this is that, as the work is fragmented, it’s done so through dialogue. This dialogue builds a collaborative spirit amongst the team and creates in them a shared vision of the work that needs to be done and how they’ll go about executing the work.

In a time box you take a series of projects and break the work on these projects into smaller pieces and into the time box for execution. These projects can be prioritized so you’re not only optimizing the workflow, the capacity against the available resources to do the work, but you’re always working on the most important projects over any period of time.

Aside from those benefits there’s also the benefits at the human level. Benefits like the affiliation with a team; an accord that develops between these whole individuals as members of the time box team. You have this dialogue during the period of decimating and grooming the work, which leads to a shared vision of the work. You also have an unexpected benefit in the quality mindset of the team. Rather than degrading to a least common denominator, regression to mean of quality consciousness, the quality leaders of the team actually elevate the quality mindset of the team.

In the next session we’re going to talk some more about the team and the team structure inside of timeboxing, but the key takeaway from today is this — if you can keep an individual whole and tie them to a team, there’s incredible benefits both for morale and efficiency of the organization.


Contact us to learn more about how Systems Thinking and the application of our Product Development Operating System can help your organization become more efficient, productive, innovative, and competitive.

Follow Bill at http://www.twitter.com/systhinking