Harmonia

Share responsibility for repeating, day-to-day tasks

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James Adam
James Adam@lazyatom · Chief maker-of-things at Exciting
Hey everyone! If you have any questions about Harmonia, just let me know. Thanks for your votes, and thanks for checking it out!
Thomas K. Running
Thomas K. RunningHunter@tkrunning · Nomad Gate, ex-Teleport
@lazyatom I find your random/fairness approach to be interesting for these kind of "mundane" everyday tasks. What made you take this approach? And what have been the reactions from early users?
James Adam
James Adam@lazyatom · Chief maker-of-things at Exciting
@kjemperud Great question. Once people get it, they tend to be enthusiastic, but it's been an interesting challenge, figuring out how to communicate the benefits of this approach, given it can seem a bit wilfully obtuse! But, in a nutshell, it all comes down to agility. Assigning tasks using an element of randomness encourages the whole team to operate in a more agile and responsive way. The overall goal of Harmonia is to make teams stronger, and one way of doing that is to minimise a sense of predictability about what might happen. There is definite value in routine, but rotas -- i.e. scheduling that tried to predict the future -- tend to encode too strong a routine, and encourage people to forget about tasks when they "know" they they aren't going to be responsible for a few weeks or months. However, life isn't predictable; you never know when a bunch of one-off tasks or chores is suddenly going to appear, or one of your co-workers is going to be unavailable for any reason, and at that point you have to either recalculate all your future predictions (your rotas), or someone has to take on that additional workload to stop it from impeding the rest of the team. A better solution, we feel, is not trying so hard to predict the future, and let the system, and the team, adapt more easily to changing tasks or chores, as they happen. Fairness ensures that the load is spread evenly. There's another aspect, relating to randomness, which I need to write more about. Using Harmonia should encourage teams to make tasks as easy to repeat as possible. Because of the randomness, there's a chance that you might be assigned sending out invoices (for example) a couple of times in a row, then you are motivated to figure out ways to make that task as easy to repeat as you can. This drives teams to automate as much as possible, and to produce clear instructions for what cannot be automated. This in turn both reduces the impact the task has on their actual creative work, and makes it easier for new team members to do the task too. Knowledge is spread around, tasks become more efficient to perform, and the team as a whole has more time and energy to focus on their actual interesting work. Sorry that my response is so long! :)
Derek Shanahan
Derek ShanahanPro@dshan · Three Hex, Cloud Unicorn
This strikes me on the surface is a really smart product. Huge kudos.
James Adam
James Adam@lazyatom · Chief maker-of-things at Exciting
Thanks @dshan :)