You Can Pick Efficiency or Flexibility – You Cannot Truly Have Both

Labor and resource management require planning ahead to optimize. Yet offering flexibility lets you meet your customer’s needs and handle the expected.

A strict schedule selected for non-technical reasons despite technical challenges creates many problems that are known. By sticking to a strict schedule, whether for construction or software product releases, can result in schedules being met by testing cut short, functionality dropped, or product built and distributed despite bugs. A more relaxed schedule can also cause problems. When a software release schedule is relaxed, it is more likely that security upgrades, software maintenance updates and other software support tasks end up making the currently approved software release no longer approved.

Where else do efficiency and flexibility collide?

1. When maintenance releases come out, select those that come out on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Software that has an irregular release cycle is thus less likely to be reliable.

2. Decision that drives inefficiency: let all slack be picked up by expensive contractors

By expecting to hire fill in labor to meet surprise demand, there is an inherent inefficiency to hiring and training contractors that may be partially offset by slack labor within the work force.

3. Decision that drives inefficiency: uncertainty of when the event will be and / or constant changes of when and where

By changing dates of meetings and gatherings that require travel, team members must reschedule travel and lodging. This has the indirect cost of user time rescheduling travel as well as the direct cost of re-booking fees.  Such changes also make it difficult for individuals to schedule around and each schedule change risks losing attendees due to new conflicts with the new meeting dates.

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About the Author

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Tamara Wilhite is the IE in IT blogger for the IISE. She is a Six Sigma green belt with experience in IT, PDM software, the defense industry and recycling industries.