The Principle: Distribute tasks to team members based on skill level for the greatest efficiency.
For any given project, there will naturally be tasks of high and low skill levels. These tasks should be distributed by a manager to the team members according to their skill. The most difficult, ambiguous tasks should be given to the most experienced individuals, and conversely, the lowest skilled tasks should be given to those with the lowest ability.
Highly skilled individuals should make efforts to offload their lower skilled tasks to someone more suited to the work. Equally and oppositely, highly skilled tasks should not be performed by low skilled individuals with the goal of saving money. The result will be costly mistakes and increased liability. At a minimum, high skilled tasks should be performed with oversight and review from a highly skilled person.
Every minute a highly skilled person spends doing low skill work should be considered waste. A simple example: Let’s say a project takes 5 hours of skilled work at $2/hr and 5 hours of unskilled work at $1/hr. In the best case, it is a $15 project. In the worst (with no lower-skilled help), the cost is $20. Even if there is an imbalance of 1 hour (that is, 6/4) the cost is 6*2 + 4*1 = $16, which results in a 6.7% inefficiency. Many companies would kill to add profit margins in this range.
References and Practical Tools for this Engineering Principle:
- None yet.
Real World Examples of this Engineering Principle:
- There are no real world examples of this principle yet. Do you have one? Contact me to get it listed.