The Phoenix Project write up

Types of work

If you ask the question What is work? Most people will say “The project I am working on”. That is only the partial truth, for any organizations, there are four types of work:

  1. Business project — This is the kind of work that customer will pay you to do
  2. Internal project — Customer don’t pay you to do this kind of work. but these type of work are essential to help you to achieve your goal. For example, an internal system upgrade that improves your work efficiency
  3. Change — This is the time you spend on changing the way you work so you will work more efficiently. This is also work because you have to spend time understanding existing processing, creating a new process and to get buy-in from people around you.
  4. Unplanned work — Any kind of work that is not in your schedule. Change of regulation, bug fixes, spontaneous meeting, handling an employee suddenly quitting…etc.

Make work visible

One of the main reasons why software project always miss the schedule is because the work in software is invisible. Invisible doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Since most immature organization didn’t put in the effort to make software work visible, they often discover work at the very last minute when they try to ship something.

Bottle neck

Any changes made not on the bottle neck is an illusion. Improvement made before the bottle neck would just mean that finished work would pile up after the bottle neck because downstream is not ready to digest it. Improvement made after the bottleneck would just mean that all works will be piled up before the bottleneck and will never reach the downstream.

Oil change

Apply strategy that protects your companies most important goal. For example, logistic company’s biggest KPI is to ensure on-time delivery of goods. Their biggest threat to prevent their KPI is that their truck breaks down. To ensure their truck doesn’t break down, they implement regular maintenance schedule and oil change every X miles such that their trucks will not breakdown.

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Tim Chan

Tim Chan

UX designer from Hong Kong. Obsessed about Micro-interactions and Product Design.