Show your system administrator a box running at 100 percent system utilization.
If you can find one who thinks it’s a good thing, then you’ve got yourself a bad system administrator. A good sysadmin knows that if a box is pegged at 100 percent, then it can’t handle any more traffic and it’s likely to fall over at any moment.
Show some managers an employee working at 100 percent. Many will say, while patting themselves on the back, that must be a great worker who’s been properly motived by a good manager… wink.
But some, myself included, would think “there’s an employee who can’t handle any more traffic and is likely to fall over at any moment.”
Machines can’t run at 100 percent all the time, and neither can humans. That’s why we have slack time.
Slack time benefits employees by giving them time to cool down and recharge their creativity between projects. Managers benefit by constantly having a pool of refreshed, ready talent to handling incoming work.
Good managers should have a pool of low priority, deadline-less, “it’d be nice if” projects and tasks.
That way, when higher priority work has been completed and there’s down time, there’s something for folks to work on that can be easily set aside should an emergency arise, or new work arrive.
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of posts where I’ll try and espouse on the some of the principals and practices of Kanban.