One of the twelve principles behind the Agile Manifesto is, “Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.”
I feel like this is a concept I’ve struggled with most of my adult life, in that I keep running into people who don’t want to work a sustainable schedule, and that confuses me.
I know a lot of people who hate checklists, no matter what Stephen Covey tells them. I’m not going to give you any tips today on how to make a checklist that you will hate less, but I do want to suggest a new way of thinking about checklists that may be helpful for you.
In some organizations, management has developed a goal of maximizing efficiency and keeping utilization high. The logic goes, if people are slacking off, then they have time when they could be producing value for the company but are instead just wasting money. And if people are 100% utilized, then they’ll be providing the most value possible.
This isn’t true. 100% utilization actually has a number of negative impacts, so it is important to have some slack time. It is equally important to make sure that time is used properly, though.