Brain Games

Have you seen “Brain Games”, a series on TV?

My family and I love watching each episode. We get to participate too — they got some things TV audiences can participate in.

Each episode reveals the power of the brain.

There are plenty of episodes covering various things that we encounter in “Lean Agile Transformation”; things like Cognitive Bias, False Assumptions, and even Context Switching.

Figure-1: Context Switching slows down things

One episode showed how context-switching slows down things:

First, the show’s host asks unsuspecting volunteers to say the colors of a bunch of words listed in front of them (i.e. the word “Red” is actually colored red).

Second, the host asks them to say the color of the words… but this time, the color of the word is different from the word itself! For example, the word “Red” is colored white (see Figure-1)!

The second round, they read the bunch of words relatively slower than they did the first round.

Why?

Context Switching!

The brain’s flow of thought has been interrupted to do something else– in this experiment, the interrupt is the conversion of the word to its color. For example (see Figure-1, first word, top left), instead of saying the word “Red”, you say ‘White’ — the color of the word “Red”.

Go ahead and try this exercise yourself.

This is the reason why we do not want development teams to be interrupted whilst Sprinting. We want them to be “in the zone; in a state of flow“… in peak performance… because they have Sprint Goals to achieve! Slowing them down — by context switching or otherwise — is counterproductive.

For more of these interesting stuff, check out “Brain Games”…click here for a sample episode.