Paris, Avenue des Acacias, printed Gift of the artist.
Garry Winogrand. New York City, Jens S.
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Then we call them the late so-and-so. By Robert Matthews. From airports to theme parks, there is no escaping being stuck in one place and wishing you were somewhere else. Never mind the origin of the Universe or the fate of the rainforests: surely someone, somewhere must have an answer to the frustration of standing in line.
Step forward the queueing theorist, an unusual mix of mathematician and psychologist who can make hanging around for hours not just acceptable but even pleasurable.
Hurry Up and Wait | aqopenemiged.gq
The first blow against queuing misery was dealt back in , with a paper published by Agner Krarup Erlang, an engineer at the Copenhagen Telephone Company. Erlang was trying to cut call congestion on automated telephone exchanges, and worked out a formula for the chances of all lines being engaged.
Not long ago, one of our clients gave us three days to put together a proposal to help with a very large and complex reorganization. Although we had been talking about the possibility of working on this project for months, the client suddenly felt that it was time to get started.
And then we waited. And in the meantime, she was still trying to secure agreement on the reorganization with her boss and other key corporate function heads. Intersecting with this drive for speed is the reality that many organizations have slimmed down over the last few years.
Hurry Up and Wait
So the surviving managers are expected to do more and more, and do it faster and faster. The result of trying to drive more work through fewer people, and at greater speed, is a jamming of the queue. There is simply no way to get everything done in the accelerated time frames that many managers expect.