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How Can I Keep My Team Focused?

We all do it. We all make commitments, sometimes even knowing that we can’t keep them as we’re making them. But what about those times when we make commitments without even realizing it? I know that when I make a promise and can’t deliver, I will do everything I can to try and meet that promise. When we make unrealistic commitments, it negatively impacts sustainability in our work.

A typical example of an asynchronous commitment is when a customer believes the delivery team has committed to the work. Still, the delivery team hasn’t even committed to starting the job. If the miscommunication isn’t corrected quickly, the situation potentially leads to unhappy customers who assume that the delivery team is “running late” on its promise to deliver when actually, the delivery team hasn’t made any promises at all. This happens a lot with lower maturity organizations.

The unfortunate result of this situation is conflicting priorities with an increased workload and escalating work-in-progress because of the perception that it’s impossible to say no. As time moves on, this leads to a lot of rush-rush work that is expedited and escalated. It also leads to frustration on all sides.

By contrast, in a synchronous commitment, the customer expects that the delivery team has committed to the work, AND the delivery team has committed to starting the job. This is accomplished by the delivery team making explicit and well-defined commitments and the customer having realistic expectations about the job. To do that, delivery teams must first have a clear understanding of their capacity.

This is where Kanban comes in.

By visualizing work and measuring how long a job typically takes, Kanban helps delivery teams understand their actual capabilities, which leads to a more sustainable workflow. In turn, delivery teams can communicate realistic commitments to customers – and keep them.

A Kanban board also prioritizes multiple incoming demands, which eliminates multitasking. Internal clients have a clear view of their requests’ progress—the end result: synchronous commitments from the delivery team and, most importantly, satisfied customers.

IntelliPivot can help your delivery teams restore synchronous balance in their commitments to customers. Contact us today to learn more.

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