Multitasking’s bad rap

Multitasking has been getting a bad rap lately. The texting while driving phenomenon and the recent rash of state laws making this illegal next month have seemed blemish the skill of multitasking by the IT professional. Harvard Business Review, BNET, and The New York Times recently went public with some multitasking bashing. Even the late Peter Drucker stated in The Effective Executive that he “never encountered an executive who remains effective while tackling more than two tasks at a time.”

I think there is merit in all the arguments, but I just cannot agree with a blanket application to the IT manager, IT project manager, and IT program manager. The sheer nature of our work, particularly the volume of elements and the speed of interaction, make multitasking imperative for survival.