An experienced project manager (PM) busy running from one meeting to another on a large construction project in search of status updates for an owner's meeting came across an assistant project manager (APM) studying the Scrum Guide. The APM moved a Post-it across a small whiteboard full of other colorful notes. That attracted the attention of the PM to pause and linger in the office doorway. The PM never noticed the board had four columns, and one labeled "Doing" had only a single note. That column was only wide enough for a single note too.
The PM blurted out, "You'll never get good doing just one thing at a time; multitasking is a skill." with a tone of superiority. "You won't get promoted making Post-its. I juggle lots of priorities and don't waste time planning." The APM heard all this but did not try to respond.
A few months later, the PM hurriedly passed the APM's office, rushing for another set of urgent status updates stopped at the now empty office. Wondering how the APM's trades never had pressing issues or late change orders, the PM thought this must have been a factor in why their company promoted the APM. The newly promoted PM also represented the company at a large tradeshow giving a talk on the power of planning that the busy PM couldn't attend due to being overbooked in meetings.
Morale: Appearances are deceptive. Multitasking is a myth.
This Scrum Fable is a work of fiction based on the author's experiences. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental (inspired by Aesop's Fables: The Ant and the Chrysalis).
Are you working with Scrum to deliver more value with less effort and have more fun? Check out these Scrum training resources to help you and your team(s) achieve twice the work in half the time.