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Demand picked way up, but staffing isn’t going to be adjusted.

The total workload for a team is directly related to the demand, and demand tends to change over time. On occasion, the demand rises faster than planned, and suddenly a team feels shorthanded. For a variety of reasons, there can be a delay in getting more people on the staff to handle the additional work. 

Problem

Demand picked way up, but staffing isn’t going to be adjusted.

How this affects you

Demand has picked up more quickly than expected. You feel overloaded, but management isn’t going to add a new team member to pick up the extra work.

Action to take

Staffing plans and budgets go hand in hand, and they are usually done far in advance. Managers generally consider two things when preparing them: the demand forecast, and projected productivity growth.

Most Lean organizations set an improvement target each year—let’s say ten percent. If demand is expected to grow by ten percent, it’s a wash, and headcount stays the same.

If demand growth is projected to exceed ten percent, the budget would likely include a few extra people on the staff. If the demand growth is below ten percent, though, you’ll eventually end up with fewer people on the team than when you started.

Don’t worry—Lean leaders understand that they can’t lay people off and still get them to work hard at improvements. This reduction will come in the form of attrition—retirements, transfers, or resignations. Really good Lean leaders will also try to keep a buffer of temporary workers on their teams. This gives them even more flexibility to match team size with demand…

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Why this works

The Why this Works section is only available in print copies of Whaddaya Mean I Gotta Be Lean?.

 

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