“If I had four hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend two hours sharpening my axe.”
Rather than following Lincoln’s wise advice, many teams feel they don’t have the time to sharpen their axes because they simply have too many trees to cut. And, the tasks are so urgent, there’s no time for a proper lunch, let alone time for improvements. So, the teams keep working with sub-optimal processes, and, the backlog grows and grows and grows. The axe-sharpening paradox raises the question: how quickly does an improvement effort pay off?