Following up on the theme of overtime, voluntary or otherwise, there’s another good reason why it’s counter-productive. In a team environment, all it takes is one person to work that little extra bit on a regular basis, and because everyone’s capacity is inter-dependant, that extra workload starts to catch up and takes it toll.
For example, imagine a business manager getting more leads than hours in the day to follow up on.
Developers producing more code than hours available to test.
Testers reporting more bugs than hours available to fix.
Analysts churning out more requirements than there are hours to spec.
Might not be such a bad situation, but one of two things end up happening. Everyone catches up at an unnatural pace, or the pace-setter gets bored or frustrated because the feedback cycle is taking too long- for them.
Estimates become unreliable, planning ends up hazardous, at best, and a false sense of productivity starts to pervade the project. But it’s not all gloom and counter-productive. It only really becomes an issue when the feedback gap gets too wide. And that’s where methinks the heart of most productivity, and certainly learning issues lie: the length of the feedback cycle. But that is a book on it’s own 😉