I once heard from an experienced entrepreneur that in business there’s never a right amount of work. There’s always too much or too little. It applies to projects, clients, office space and others.
It and looks like this:
Think about what it means…
When the lows are at your capacity you end up in work overload.
When the peaks in work amount are at your capacity you end up wasting money or being bored.
If you try to have average capacity you have smaller overloads and smaller dips. But the problem persists.
How to handle those peaks and dips?
Hmm… What comes to my mind first is to average out. If you overlap multiple waves then they should cancel out, right?
You can do it in few ways…
By scaling up the work and capacity.
But it comes with it’s own set of problems and challenges. Efficiency drops, culture changes, agility drops, fun evaporates.
By sharing the peaks and lows with other companies.
Other ways of handling it that come to my mind:
- making the lows less deep and peaks less high by doing work early or late. Early work is clerk putting merchandise on the shelves before peak of customers queues by the counter. Late is carving out the nice-to-have in a project to do it in a later phase.
- keeping the capacity low and not taking more work. This means forgoing opportunities and leaves untapped potential. Or perhaps even value wasted.
- some businesses keep the capacity low and pass the overload directly onto their employees.
This variance in work amount always costs. It’s either your company, your employees or your outsourcer paying.
Interesting aside: What is NOT a solution is automation. Because you wouldn’t only automate at peaks. If you can automate something, you do it always. It’s free once you’ve done it.