Multitasking - The Good The Bad and The Ugly

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What are some of the issues with the ability to multitask?

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Multitasking - The Good The Bad and The Ugly

  1. 1. The good, the bad, and the ugly Tal Aviv
  2. 2. What is multitasking? <ul><li>(computing) </li></ul><ul><li>The simultaneous execution of multiple tasks ( programs ) under the control of an interrupt-driven operating system. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is multitasking? <ul><li>(buzzword, figuratively) </li></ul><ul><li>The practice or capability of handling more than one task at the same time. </li></ul><ul><li>Wikipedia – 7/26/2009 http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/multitasking </li></ul>
  4. 4. Is Multitasking “Good” or “Bad” <ul><li>Most professionals </li></ul><ul><li>Pride themselves on being able to multitask. </li></ul><ul><li>Deal with more then one project / task at a time </li></ul><ul><li>Claim to wear more then “one hat”. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Is Multitasking “Good” or “Bad” <ul><li>Consider </li></ul><ul><li>If you are not multitasking, are you wasting precious moments? </li></ul><ul><li>We can read, eat, and listen at the same time simply because we want every free minute counts. </li></ul><ul><li>Throughout our lives, doing it all in less of a time is the way of life. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Is Multitasking “Good” or “Bad” <ul><li>Consider the following situation: </li></ul><ul><li>You are a critical resource and you are currently working on 3 projects. </li></ul><ul><li>How long will it take to finish all 3 projects? </li></ul>Project 1 Project 2 Project 3 Expected Duration 5 Days 5 Days 3 Days Expected Sales in $ 5,000,000 5,000,000 3,000,000
  7. 7. Is Multitasking “Good” or “Bad” <ul><li>Assume you start working on project 1. </li></ul><ul><li>After 2 days, the Project manager of Project 2 comes and ask for status update. </li></ul><ul><li>You don’t want to show no progress so you stop working on project 1 and start working on project 2. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Is Multitasking “Good” or “Bad” <ul><li>A day later the Project manager that knows your task should take only 3 days asks for a status update and start screaming when he hears that you made no progress. </li></ul><ul><li>You calm him down promising to work on his project the next day. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Is Multitasking “Good” or “Bad” <ul><li>A week has passed and the current situation is </li></ul><ul><li>No Project was completed, all PM’s are upset </li></ul>Day 1 2 3 4 5 Project 1 1 2 2 3
  10. 10. Is Multitasking “Good” or “Bad” <ul><li>Another week of multitasking has passed: </li></ul><ul><li>No project is completed. </li></ul><ul><li>All PM’s are screaming their heads off </li></ul>Day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Project 1 1 2 2 3 3 1 1 2 2
  11. 11. Is Multitasking “Good” or “Bad” <ul><li>Week 3, finally we see some results </li></ul><ul><li>Project 1 is done after 12 days (estimated 5) </li></ul><ul><li>Project 2 is done after 13 days (estimated 5) </li></ul><ul><li>Project 3 is done after 11 days (estimated 3) </li></ul>Day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Project 1 1 2 2 3 3 1 1 2 2 3 1 2
  12. 12. What if Multitasking was not allowed? <ul><li>The time to complete the 3 project is still the same but: </li></ul><ul><li>Project 1 is done after 5 days </li></ul><ul><li>Project 2 is done after 10 days </li></ul><ul><li>Project 3 is done after 13 days </li></ul>Day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Project 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3
  13. 13. What if Multitasking was not allowed? <ul><li>Project 2 & 3 are still late, but over all performance is greatly improved. </li></ul><ul><li>How soon will the company start bringing money in? </li></ul><ul><li>How much money will they make in the 13 days if multitasking is not allowed? </li></ul><ul><li>If multitasking is not allowed, what will be the impact on the organizational culture? </li></ul>
  14. 14. $$$ Oriented results <ul><li>In real life cash flow is the life line of a company. </li></ul><ul><li>The speed of $$$ recovery might mean the survival of the organization. </li></ul><ul><li>Is time important? </li></ul>
  15. 15. 3 Projects with multi tasking <ul><li>Project break even point is after 4 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Profit after 6 week: $16,400 </li></ul>Project Cost Revenue per week Days to complete Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Project 1 $10,000 $5,000 12 -$10,000 -$10,000 -$4,000 $1,000 $6,000 $11,000 Project 2 $10,000 $5,000 13 -$10,000 -$10,000 -$6,000 -$1,000 $4,000 $0 Project 3 $6,000 $3,000 11 -$6,000 -$6,000 -$3,600 -$600 $2,400 $5,400 Total $26,000 $13,000   -$26,000 -$26,000 -$13,600 -$600 $12,400 $16,400
  16. 16. 3 Projects with NO multi tasking <ul><li>Project break even point is after 3 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>Profit after 6 week: $34,200 </li></ul>Project Cost Revenue per week Days to complete Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Project 1 $10,000 $5,000 5 -$5,000 $0 $5,000 $10,000 $15,000 $20,000 Project 2 $10,000 $5,000 10 -$10,000 -$10,000 -$5,000 $0 $5,000 $10,000 Project 3 $6,000 $3,000 13 -$6,000 -$6,000 -$4,800 -$1,800 $1,200 $4,200 Total $26,000 $13,000   -$21,000 -$16,000 -$4,800 $8,200 $21,200 $34,200
  17. 17. Results? <ul><li>We broke even 1 week earlier when no multi tasking was involved. </li></ul><ul><li>We more then doubled our profit after 6 weeks. ($34,200 Vs. $16,400) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Is multitasking good or bad – Exercise Pt.1 <ul><li>Each person gets 2 sheet of paper, one blank, one striped. </li></ul><ul><li>You will tear each sheet on paper in to 5 stripes </li></ul><ul><li>You will tear each stripe in to 6 pieces </li></ul><ul><li>The pieces do not need to be symmetrical or identical </li></ul><ul><li>No additional equipment to be used. </li></ul><ul><li>After 3 tears you will switch to the other sheet and vice versa. </li></ul><ul><li>The instructor will call out the time every 30 seconds </li></ul>
  19. 19. Is multitasking good or bad – Exercise Pt.1 <ul><li>What is the class distribution for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yield (errors)? </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Is multitasking good or bad – Exercise Pt.2 <ul><li>Repeat the exercise but this time no multi tasking. </li></ul><ul><li>Finish with one sheet and only then move to the other sheet. </li></ul><ul><li>The instructor will call out the time every 30 seconds. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the class distribution for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yield (errors)? </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Is multitasking good or bad? Set up time <ul><li>How long does it take you to switch from one task to another? </li></ul><ul><li>How long does it take you to get your mind off of the previous topic and focus on the new one? </li></ul><ul><li>Do you need different tools, set up, information, etc? </li></ul><ul><li>Who accounts for all the time lost? </li></ul>
  22. 22. Bad Multitasking <ul><li>Bad Multitasking is the act of dropping a primary function or activity for any length of time, in order to take up another task, simply to show that progress is being made on more than one project. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Bad Multitasking <ul><li>In the first example we saw impacts to revenue due to project multitasking, but is multitasking always bad? </li></ul>
  24. 24. Bad Multitasking <ul><li>Consider an administrative assistant, do you really want them to finish typing a letter before picking up the phone? </li></ul><ul><li>The situation must be investigated before a decision to multitask or not to multitask </li></ul>

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