The Design Glut

By | September 24, 2010

One thing I hate is being called a bottleneck.  I work pretty quickly and usually stay ahead of engineers needs.  I think I produce designs pretty quickly with a good degree of fidelity and creativity (if I do say so myself).  However, there are times when I feel behind.  Usually, this is right after a decision is made.  See handy chart below.

Immediately after a decision is made, there is a ton of things to design and everyone is in a rush.  This is when I get called a bottleneck. (grumble!)  However, this kind of thing is perfectly natural.  How am I supposed to get ahead?  Without that critical decision, I wouldn’t know what to design or how.  I would just produce random stuff that wasn’t required.  In other words, you can’t design everything in advance.

The key question is how early and how often are decisions being made.  If they are made late or the decision wipes out a previous decision, then all the design work may be wasted.  It’s good to be nimble and make decisions as close to real-time as possible, but there are natural consequences to that.

I wonder what other fields this is especially relevant.  In a hospital, I imagine periods of slow work and then BOOM, a 18 car pile up and everyone is scrambling.  Maybe this is true in every field?  Sometimes the way the world naturally works is a real pain. Well, better get to work.  I have a glut to work through.

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