September 28 & 29, 2020 | Virtual
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At any given point in time, a company has a fixed delivery capacity. Committing to anything exceeding that is going to result in customer and team dissatisfaction. While you may lose the occasional customer who insists that their work is most important when you tell them to wait their turn, if the leadership teams uses cost of delay or some other method of prioritizing "who comes first", then discipline should be used to stick with that, otherwise you incur the multiple wastes of multi-tasking.
It's all about prioritization and with how these requests are dealt with. You use a very important word in your question - DEMANDS. Most often these customers do not know what they want so for them to demand anything is dangerous and for it to be accepted is even more dangerous. Demanding should never be the same as needing it. So only once your analyst/s have identified the true problem we are trying to solve it can be prioritized, if it even lands up on a backlog. I prefer a prioritization method like MoSCoW because it allows you and the stakeholder to clearly understand what they truely need to solve a problem. Then you obviously need to manage your work in progress to ensure that you do not overload your limited resource pool.
Balancing between resources and work at hand is THE key responsibility of any manager.
Abstract tools are
- changing the resource pool, people and assets, (by hiring/increasing, out-tasking, efficiency measures, etc)
- changing the work side by prioritizing (by portfolio mgmt, MoSCoW as Maria says, ..) or limiting the work inflow (focus on market segment, product/service type) or shorten/simplify delivery (supply chains, UBER vs Taxis, JIT).
Good managers use a third element in balancing, which is the purpose, vision, mission, strategy of the organization. In disruptive times you need to pivot (change strategy), which is often easier and quicker than to change resources.
Stake holder power and Interest matrix will help in solving this issues in a broader way. Understanding client need and their expectations in true sense. Proper analysis with in the team and prioritizing the issues for solutions with available internal capabilities will help in bridging the gap and balance between demand and capabilities .
I love these answers, thank you everyone!
I cannot accept that an organization has a "fixed" capacity. I see the capacity as being somewhat elastic between 'not enough' and 'stressed'. In a market economy I also see that the price of services will increase as demand strengthens to a point of balance - at some price point the client will find another way (external service provider or competitor). To put it bluntly - you increase your price until the client goes elsewhere for services. So, you never say No!
I also see this as a risk/reward consideration. The risk becomes greater as the work load increases yet the opportunity for reward also increases.
As a contractor some years back my approach to workload was rather simple. When I was slow the price of service would drop, I would become more competitive. When I got too busy my price for services would go up thus less successful in getting the work.
Same concept can apply for internal services, when slow you provided added value, when too busy you stick to the basic needs and find external sources to augment your capacity.
In software projects, most customers prefer having software with high quality and plenty of functions at minimize cost and in a short time. Scope creep can be disastrous to the development team and the performing organization. To balance their needs and company capability, we must manage requirements effectively, know company assets that can be leveraged for our projects, engage customers in product design and development, and have change management process in hand. Educate our customer to understand the Quality Triangle of Time, Cost, and Quality that will help us in discussing and resolving competing requirements. Never reject customer requirement just by company can not deliver it.
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