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Re: [scrumdevelopment] How many projects at once?

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  • Keith Ray
    If 20% of your time is on one project, where is the rest of your time supposed to go? People tasked simultaneously on 3 different projects is a very big
    Message 1 of 4 , Nov 8, 2006
      If 20% of your time is on one project, where is the rest of your time
      supposed to go?

      People tasked simultaneously on 3 different projects is a very big
      problem... it slows down all 3 projects and introduces task-switching
      overhead to the extent that people are only 60% effective compared to
      what they could do if they were on only one project.

      See <http://www.stsc.hill.af.mil/CrossTalk/2006/11/0611Derby.html>
      "Becoming a great manager: five pragmatic practices" for more on why
      multi-tasking people is a bad thing.

      On 11/7/06, mi97ki <mi97ki@...> wrote:
      > The organization I work for has decided to adopt Scrum on a pilot
      > project. The plan is to see how well Scrum is going to cure the
      > current problems the organization is facing (late, buggy products,
      > etc.). The Team who I have the privilege to coordinate is on this
      > pilot. We have been through 2 iterations and we are approaching the
      > end of the third. We can (and will!) improve on few things but overall
      > I can say: "So far so good!".
      >
      > Yesterday the PMO mandated that for projects up to 1 year duration or
      > 1 million dollar budget PMs cannot be tasked more than 20% of their
      > time. The pilot falls within this bracket. My experience, which is
      > limited to the 3 months we have been on the pilot, tells me that 20%
      > utilization for the PM/ScrumMaster is too low. Perhaps because I sign
      > up for tasks when I see the Team struggling to keep pace (which
      > happens often because the organization seems unable to understand that
      > people cannot be tasked simultaneously on 3 different projects and be
      > very effective at the same time...). When I raised my objection I was
      > told that I should get an extra (cheaper) resource to do the technical
      > work (which I enjoy, since I have a technical background) and focus
      > exclusively on PM tasks.
      >
      > I concede that I do not have much experience and perhaps my uneasiness
      > of being tasked for only 20% of my time on the project is due to the
      > fact that I like doing technical work. However, I would like to know
      > from the veterans out there if you can afford to work only 20% on
      > your projects. Or, in other words, how many projects a ScrumMaster can
      > tackle at the same time?
      >
      > Thanks!
      >
      >
      >
      >
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      --

      C. Keith Ray
      <http://homepage.mac.com/keithray/blog/index.html>
      <http://homepage.mac.com/keithray/xpminifaq.html>
      <http://homepage.mac.com/keithray/resume2.html>
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