7 Wastes of I.T. (And a few Bonus wastes)

Today I’m going to quickly go through the 7 wastes of IT and my take on them,

At some point in the future, I may go through them in more detail.

    • Partially done work
      Have you ever been on a project or been doing a task and then asked to drop it?
      That wasted effort for developing that piece of work is one interpretation. 
    • Extra features
      Writing something that isn’t what the customer wants – or worse yet something the customer will not use.
    • Re-learning
      Have you ever learned something, never documented it and then had to come back some time later and had to re-learn that thing again?
    • Hand offs
      Anything that involves passing how the system works from one person to another. Not everything is given over, and usually the handoff is too short to be of any use, or months before the recipient needs the information. Where we go back to re-learning and they have to go through it all over again.
    • Delays
      Delays can cause a loss of knowledge of the system. Ever completed a piece of work, had to wait days or weeks before you can migrate into production? by then you have moved onto something else?
      How difficult has it been to fix any issues that occur? Would it have been quicker if you deployed sooner?
    • Task Switching
      This I have recently been through. 3 projects. All done simultaneously, all requiring 100% of my time. I spend so much time changing context from one task to the next that I don’t focus on anything and it ends up being a mess.
      Also, every time you change context, you have a ramp up time to focus. Change too often and that ramp up time eats into the productive time.
    • Defects
      Anything that takes you away from planned work is bad. Defects tend to do that. They cause unplanned work in the issues they cause and also in having to fix them and the aftermath.
    • Bonus Round
      • Unused Creativity
        Your people may have ways of doing things, but giving them a chance to try new things and new ways to do something may gain efficiencies and new perspectives. Giving your people a creative out, also gives them more job satisfaction.
        Not using creativity, you are prone to repeat the same mistakes and have morale problems. Also, creativity is where your innovations occur.
      • Technical Debt
        These are effectively defects, quick fixes etc that will bite you at some point in the near or distant future. It could be messy code that when you need to do a change will take weeks or months instead of hours or days if done properly in the first place.
        It can also be lack of documentation, or poor documentation etc.
      • Heroics
        This is working long hours or extra hours. Any time that is taken away from rest time causes productivity to suffer, either short term or long term. People get tired.
        I have a colleague that will work in his own time on a project for work to try to get ahead. He is not paid for this time, and most of the time he accomplishes little. He would be better off learning in that time if he needs to rather than slog it out. He actually reminds me of this Dilbert cartoon.

Sometimes waste is unavoidable, but every effort should be made to reduce it. This in essence is one of the foundations of Lean and DevOps in my opinion.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.