Stuck in a rut? Can’t seem to ship?
Try delivering something of value every week.
Doing this will require you and your team to do certain things.
You have to break big problems down into smaller ones
A week is a relatively short period of time. You can’t possibly do everything in a week!
To get anything done in a week, you have to break big, scary, complex problems down into smaller, simpler, more manageable ones.
At first this can appear daunting.
But once you crack it, you will find the big problems aren’t as bad as you thought; and that you can deliver a lot of value in one week’s time.
You are forced to focus on things that are valuable to your customer
How do you know what’s valuable to your customer? You ask.
When you look at a software project through your customer’s eyes, it’s easy to see how little of what is traditionally offered has little or no value.
Sure you need documentation. Sure you need plans.
But they are only in support of one thing—working software.
By delivering something of value every week, you are forced to get lean and ignore anything that doesn’t add value.
As a result, you travel lighter and only take what you need.
You have to make sure that what you are delivering works
Delivering something of value every week implies that what you deliver had better work.
That means testing—lots of it, early and often.
Testing isn’t something you be slough off till the end of the project.
It’s not something you can delegate.
The buck stops with you.
When you deliver something of value every week, testing will become a part of your daily life.
You are forced to get feedback
How do you know whether you’ve hit the target if you don’t regularly engage and ask your customer how you are doing?
Feedback is the flashlight that cuts through the fog and keeps you on the road as you’re barreling down the highway at a 100 miles per hour.
Without it, your customer loses the ability to steer. And you end up taking a lot of wrong turns.
You have to adapt
Stuff happens on projects. Things change.
What is really important one week can be de-scoped the next.
If you create a plan and follow it blindly, you won’t be able to react to the curve balls.
That’s why when reality messes with your plan, you change your plan – not reality.
You have to be accountable
When you promise to deliver something of value every week, you become accountable.
That means owning quality.
Owning the schedule.
And spending the money as if it were your own.
Because, at the end of the day, it is you, your team, and the expectations you set, that will determine whether your project succeeds or fails.
You can’t delegate this. Nor would you want to.
Warning! Not everyone likes working this way
Delivering something of value every week is not for the faint of heart.
It puts the spotlight on you like never before.
There is no place to hide.
Every week you sit down with your customer, and show them how you’ve spent their money.
Some people don’t like this level of visibility.
They don’t want it.
But for a team struggling for direction, and not knowing where to begin, it’s an awfully good place to start.
So if you find yourself in a bit of a rut, or your team is struggling to get something out the door, hit the pause button. Take a step back. Ask yourself what it would take to deliver something of value every week.
Then trust your instincts, and do what needs to be done.