September 18, 2006

More on Multitasking

Special case of the multitasking problem (touched in the previous post) is switching tasks between two different projects.
The beauty in it is that not only are you experiencing all the problems mentioned before but also you don't have a feeling that you are a part of any team or of any the two (or even more) projects. If the person does not feel that he or she is part of something, than the risk of lower responsibility and motivation level is really increased.

There are also other things.

In my company there are currently two projects running. There is one colleague, however, who appeared to be working on both projects but when project managers got together, they realized that this person is actually not taking part in any of the two projects.
This is actually the same as it used to happen in high school with kids who were active in sports: at school they would say that they have to train for some big race or other competition – asking for some free days from school. To their trainers they would say that some big school exam will take place so it is impossible for them to come to their training sessions.
After such “preparations”, they would just stay at home having fun with their crosswords (!) and similar interesting stuff.

In a long run, this is of course stupid but for shorter periods it works very well.
The main problem is that, for example in my company, working on two projects is a common practice: almost everybody is switching between projects. If there was only one person doing this, it would be easier to track such a behavior.

To sum up: if you allow a lot of "project switching" in your company, it opens a lot of doors for people who are natural-born non-workers.
Either assign person to only one project, or all project managers need to communicate. And we all know that's impossible!

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