There are a few key behavioral responses or reactions to queues, or waiting. Some of these countermeasures to waiting are called Placebo Buttons. Below are the propositions:
- Unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time.
- Process-waits feel longer than in-process waits.
- Anxiety makes waits seem longer.
- Uncertain waits seem longer than known, finite waits.
- Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits.
- The more valuable the service, the longer the customer is willing to wait.
- Solo waits feel longer than group waits.
There are several aspects to managing the Physics of Queueing and the Psychology of Queueing.
Managing the Physics of Queueing
In large part, the Queueing articles above focus on the learning and understanding the quantitative aspects of Queueing System behavior. In a later post, I’ll spend some time on ways one can manage the Physics of Queueing — for example, how to manage Work-in-Process (WIP) or Things-in-Process (TIP) for non-manufacturing processes; identifying the right batch size; identifying and reducing or eliminating time-traps, etc.
Managing the Wait Time Psychology of Queueing
After, I’ll spend a few minutes explaining ways in which a manager can manage the Psychology of Queueing — for example, visual taskboards, effective feedback loops, rapid and iterative software development with frequent and communicated release cycles are just some examples of how to effectively manage the Psychology of Queues.
In each treatment of Queueing, I will also show how to manage the Physics and Psychology of Queueing and show how you can apply them to Software Engineering, Manufacturing, Medicine, Call Centers, and Fulfillment.
Understanding the behavior of a system is what Queueing Theory and Little’s Law is all about. But, managing a Queue requires not just understanding the behavior of a system, but also in-depth knowledge of how to improve a system — improving both aspects of Queueing will mean a better, more efficient and cost-effective system and, more importantly, a much better customer experience.