James Bond Demand Management

We know that demand analysis and management is a key practice employed if you want to deliver your work to your customers in a quick and qualitative way.

Activities such as defining the right work item types and understanding patterns in the demand as well as classifying the demand itself are among the activities as such. So I found myself wondering what has this got to do with me being at a wedding about a year ago.

Back then I observed a new type of demand management technique which I now call James Bond Demand Management.

What you need to understand is that eating at a wedding is an essential part in Germany. We wait for the moment that the buffet is opened or the first dish is served and only try to overcome anxiously waiting for it by watching other guests, having some drinks or playing with kids. I would say that this is among the top 3 items on a wedding only topped by the right party/music and having great conversations with people you did not know before. At this particular wedding there well over 100 people attending (not counting kids). I would estimate them at around 120. So getting to the important buffet was no easy task. I could have pushed through, but the couple that got married had a different idea and it involved the aforementioned demand management technique.

But first, some numbers: Let‘s suppose the buffet is occupied for 2 minute during the time someone takes their food and let‘s say the buffet can hold approximately 5 people at the same time.

Given I can apply Little‘s Law to this problem as well I knew that we had an arrival rate of roughly 2.5 per minute on average of the system. So if I had been dead last I would have waited 48 minutes until I could have gotten to my food.

So the hosts made the following demand management system, a fair one you could argue. They decided to randomly assign James Bond movie titles to each table and the DJ would play a James Bond title song after another giving each table enough time to get their food. Given the song length is approximately 3-4 minutes and each table having 8 people the demand management actually worked and the buffet was never too crowded. Also, it felt as if it was a fair system. The little game was a crowd pleaser so people like our table (being in the bottom third of the queue) eventually were less dissatisfied than we would have been if we knew right away.

Needless to say the food was great, the party rocked and we slept like a baby afterwards.