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Jhakaas Idea: Bench Productivity-Time Graph (BPTG) and Bench-Productivity-Probability-Metrics (BPPM)

Posted by Jai on July 2, 2009

This post is Food for Thought for the people who have been through it or have been into handling or managing it. The idea is very interesting, Jhakaas (superb), that how different companies organize their bench strength in different way. Is there any way we can figure out the direct co-relation between the productivity of people over a period of time on bench? How long should you keep someone on bench for maximum productivity? Is there any mathematical equation where I can put my variable factors and the system can give me the probable time period to get the maximum productivity from people.

Different organizations have different ideas about bench also. Some directly relate it to the billability. Some main some good bench strength for business. Some can’t afford any bench. Some use it to explore new things, doing some research, exploring new business and technologies. Some ask people to stay home. Some even don’t provide computer system to work on. It all varies but lets say the variable factors take into account all these conditions in a way or other.


Well, the idea may sound a bit crazy but definitely we can average out the things keeping apart the exceptional cases etc.

Bench Productivity-Time Graph

Lets say we are gonna draw the graph between productivity in terms of hours “productive-hours”, which may be in terms of value addition to the company or may be value addition to individual learnings, versus the time period which may be in weeks or months.

Bench Productivity-Time Graph

Bench Productivity-Time Graph

Lets say we are very agile people and follow the best practices like extreme programming etc and say we have 4-5 productive hours out of 8 hours a day and rest of the time goes in meetings, discussions, brain storming, tea break, smoke break, office gossips etc. etc.

If we have a look at the graph it is divided into following sections:

Section A-B: This is the period where people start on bench. Either it may be that people are coming out from a project and need to wait for new project or may be that some new joiner is there and you still figuring out where to put them. Initially everyone wants to relax a bit. Finish some of the pending tasks which were not possible in tight schedules earlier etc. Do net browsing for few days, catch with old friends etc. etc.

So, the productivity is lets say very minimal in the earlier stages.

Section B-C: Some time passes and people start realizing that they have enough time in hand and lets just utilize it somehow. Either you start working yourself in enthusiasm or you get some work on bench from your organization. To start something new after some relax period always make you extra productive. Some new ideas pop up in people’s head or  working after some relax period give you sense to achievement and you deliver more.

So, the productivity during this period goes a bit high and sometimes it even crosses usual 4-5 hours barrier, lets say.

Section C-D: Can’t keep it long enough so it comes down. Done enough on bench so lets relax a bit more.

Productivity starts coming down.

Section D-E: Here you again relax a bit realizing that you are still on bench.

Productivity is again very less during this period.

Section E-F: Here you again start working a bit. The high point has already passed, so the peak wn’t reach here and you try to cope with day to day routine and tries to deliver something and think a bit for new ideas.

Section G-G-H: Why do we say that the productivity goes negative.. It is all psychological. Lets say if you don’t have enough to work on. If the things you work on during bench are not interesting to you, but have to work to save the job. Nothing new pops up in your head. You are already exhausted with the old bench routine. You start thinking how long can you stay idle etc. You not only add any value to yourself but you frustrations spills over to others also. Soon you start falling in an environment of frustration and dis-satisfaction. This is the toughest period to come over and stay calm.

Productivity goes in negative, means you come to office…check mails…chat…have lunch…take rest…and go home.

Section H-I-K: This is the period when you start thinking that you are not doing anything. After this realization period you start overcome the bench idea and put responsibility on yourself and start something on your own or take interest in what ever your company has given you to work on bench.

Productivity comes to a balanced value, which is more dependent on the delta value of the variable factor of the productivity probability metrics.

Now, lets say we have enough graph data from different organization based on different factors and company cultures etc which will help us to figure out the variable factors in the next section.

Bench-Productivity-Probability-Metrics (BPPM)

The metrics indicates that if you have 50-100 people on bench, and depending on your organization few more parameters than what is the probability to get the maximum productivity from these people over a period of time.



The metrics may look like this:

Variable Factors P (t=0.5 months) P (t=1 months) P (t=2 months) P (t=4 months) P (t=6 months)
a=8, b=5,n=50,l=0.4,m=0.1,n=-.4… 0.3 0.8 0.5 0.01 0.4
a=8, b=6,n=5,l=0.7,m=-0.2,n=0.6… 0.1 0.7 0.4 0.02 0.2

So, we need to come out some mathematical equation like

P = 1- (b-f(t))/a

where f(t) = lt+mt2+nt3… is a complex function of time taking into account the variable factors. //TODO find out the f(t).

a,b are the productive hours and the total hours per day.

l,m,n… are the variable factors depending on organizations, process, total strength etc.

We want to maximize the probability, so lets say the default will be maximum probability i.e. 1. And the further variable factors influencing this probability will be assigned the corresponding plus or minus values.

Some of the variable factors I can add right now are:

working hours a day: 8 hours
effective productive hours: 4-5 hours b
bench strength: big/small organizations, n number of people on bench
work from home policy: people more/less productive working from home on bench
Internal Projects: if you give people to do internal projects to work on during bench
Internal Trainings: if you give trainings during bench
work of interest: are people getting work of choice on bench or some forced technology or other work

And many more similar factors that can be added.

I will have to brush up my maths skills from college days to put it in the actual equation but in the mean time it is just food for thought. It can be total crazy thing or crap also but still what do you think about it?


A) Would definitely make some difference

B) Looks interesting

C) No way to generalize/standardize it

D) Total Crap

Feel free to vote with a preferred choice and comments.


4 Responses to “Jhakaas Idea: Bench Productivity-Time Graph (BPTG) and Bench-Productivity-Probability-Metrics (BPPM)”

  1. Vishal said

    Went over my head 😦

  2. Vishal said

    Need to get on the bench to understand this.

  3. Abhimanyu said

    mast hai this jhakas idea 🙂
    so much so that i wish i was on bench 😀

  4. rahul said

    hahaha…. i am sure this work is done when u are sitting on bench but being idle 🙂 Great work!Jhakas!

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