Hare in a speedboat saying, "This will go a hundred times faster" Tortoise in a rowboat saying, "But in the wrong direction."

“Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things.” – Peter Drucker

We live in a townhouse. If you don’t know what a townhouse is, it’s built high rather than wide, so our kitchen is on the middle floor. It’s my job to deal with the recycling, but rather than bring each can, tin, and paper box downstairs individually, I stick them in a bag and bring them down in one go.

I used to be an Engineer so I’m incredibly lazy, so I want to minimize the number of times I clomp down and up the stairs. However, if I leave it until the recycling bag is full you can imagine what happens. That’s right, I leave a trail of recyclables through the house like an eco-friendly Hansel and Gretel.

It’s more effective if empty my bag before it’s overflowing.

The same thing is true for your teams.

Why aren’t you writing code for eight hours a day?

With the economy the way it is, we’re all being pushed to do more with what we have. The years of being able to hire to take on extra demand are over, so our business partners are looking at how we spend our time more than ever.

You’ll be pushed to explain why your teams aren’t cutting code, testing, or delivering for a full eight hours every day.

You’ll be asked to provide timesheets, cut meetings, and push your teams more to get the work that directly delivers customer-value up to 100%. Ruthless efficiency may look good on paper, but is it effective?

  • What about collaboration? Are your teams working well together?
  • What about experimentation? Are your teams innovating and learning?
  • What about customer feedback? Are your teams building the right things?

Like the recycling, it’s more efficient to only make the trip when I’ve packed the bag full to overflowing, but it’s not effective because I have to tidy up afterwards.

Are your teams more efficient than effective?

Leave a Reply

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