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Deadline, Chapter 15

This chapter begins with Tompkins meeting with my favourite character, Belok, and by favourite I mean least favourite. He does the usual Belok things and is super strict and assigns Tompkins even more work. He is supposed to help the airport deal with the 2000 olympics, asi if the impossible software projects weren’t enough. He also complains about the workers not doing enough overtime and that Tompkins needed to apply more pressure to the workers. Belok doesn’t have to be such a meanie, he doesn’t realize that his suggestions are not working, in fact they are probably doing exactly the opposite of working.

Tompkins and the team decide to analyze the effects of pressure on the time to deliver a project, they even used old projects with the help of Waldo. Belok’s model was that as you put more pressure you reduce the time to deliver. Before Waldo arrived, Belinda drew her own model of what she expected. The model told them that a bit of pressure will reduce the time to deliver, but more than that and the time to deliver would actually increase. They mention that short bursts of pressure can work really well, while long-term pressure doesn’t which aligns with what I found online. Small amounts of pressure can increase your momentum, but with more pressure the momentum is reduced, employees are immobilized by the stress and can have fear of taking one wrong step, which leads to no steps being taken at all.

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When Waldo came back with the results it choked everyone that pressure will only lead at most to a 6% productivity increase. This is small compared with the 25% that Belinda had speculated. An even more surprising fact that they found was overtime hours do not decrease the time to deliver. In fact, more overtime hours can lead to a longer time to deliver. More work hours doesn’t result in more work being done. A study showed that managers couldn’t tell the difference between someone who worked 80 hours a week and someone who didn’t. The work done was comparable. What this chapter tells us is that pressure and overtime will only lead to stressed workers, which will result in less productivity.


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