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Apply Parkinson’s Law, Remove MUDA

Work expands to fill the time available for its completion – Parkinson’s Law.

Parkinson’s Law stated as early as 1950’s had a great flavor of Removing MUDA. The demand for completing a work by a resource will try to occupy total time available (supply) for the resource making the work inefficient. It means if 100 hours are planned for a task for a resource, the resource will ensure to utilize all the 100 hours of time for completing the work, even though it would have been possible to complete the work much before 100 hours. This is also called student’s syndrome. Student’s syndrome means postponing the exam preparation till near the exams.

Many of the non Agile projects in IT industries and non Lean projects in manufacturing industries are best examples of these.

Even in pure service Industries like Banking, Insurance, Public sector services have been introducing many forms of wastes particularly related to time. In fact banks take more time than the available time also for performing services. Many banks display their SLA objectives for issue of demand drafts, disbursement of  cash, opening and closing accounts with targets as part of a probably ISO 9001: 2000 requirements. Not only they take all the SLA time for delivery of respective services but also exceed the targets most of the times.

These examples automatically goes to prove that why Parkinson’s observation was called a LAW and not a theory. Proper elimination MUDA by managing the loads of processes as per peak, non peak times will help to complete works and services better by the service industries.

In software development most of the resources never complete projects on time, leave alone taking all the time available to complete their task (as per Parkinson’s Law). They overrun the schedule. Best way to understand Parkinson’s Law and not fall prey to student’s syndrome of pushing the tasks to the end of the schedule is to adopt Agile methodology. It focuses on tasks as story point functionalities rather than code pieces. Great tools for Project Management, Development and reviews will help them to automate repeat processes and reduce MUDA. The evidences for work accomplishment can be in the form of snap shots of white boards, simple work flow diagrams etc. No need to have baselined artifacts and change requests that unnecessarily brings lots of overheads. Since customer is also continuously monitoring the development activities most of the work products can be eliminated and real Working product in the form of iteration and releases can be achieved.

Let’s understand Parkinson’s Law and eliminate MUDA.  



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