Stress = Waste

I was at work the other day and a situation started to happen. A project started to become “bigger” in terms of scope of work. The deadline could move a little, but not a lot. The stress-o-meter was rising.

But here is the thing…

Stress = Waste.

  • It takes up mindshare. (Unproductive mindshare).
  • It saps focus
  • It’s not fun

It’s not that I don’t like digging into some hard work. It’s not that I don’t expect my team around me to do the same. BUT, it is about keeping things focused, energized, managed… and not stressed.

Stress happens when there are unrealistic expectations about what can be done with given resources within a certain timeframe. Another way of saying this is to consider the equation below.

RESOURCES (e.g. people / dollars) + SCOPE = DEADLINE

If we have an UNTRUE equation (e.g. the resources we have for the scope we have cannot hit the deadline we have), then that makes stress. We need to adjust the math to turn it into a true equation. Then we can get rid of the stress.

In terms of Resources:

  • Can we work more focused?
  • What skills/expertise do we need? Do we have it with the team assigned? If not, how can we get it?
  • Can we dig in and (smartly) pull a longer work week or few work weeks?
  • Can we shift workload off of some people and onto others?
  • What other resources can we pull in? (internal or external)

In terms of Scope:

  • Can we do things differently to deliver comparable value more easily and in less time?
  • What is less important (and can be prioritized lower or for a later phase)?
  • What is must have?

In terms of Deadline:

We have to set it to be as soon as we can make it BUT as far out as is realistic. And there needs to be some padding in there for unknowns. And along the way we need to keep the client informed and keep their expectations managed.

Good perspective. And proud to say, that my team managed that equation in multiple ways. Stress will rear it’s ugly head. But we have tools to manage it.