Breaking It Down

Remember the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” It’s a clever visual representation that encourages us to break down the work so we can accomplish more than we could have ever imagined.

Think about it. When you take on a project, whether it’s at work or home, you usually consider the goal, identify the best approach for achieving this goal, and then break down the work “in bite-sized pieces,” and the work gets completed in phases.

If this is our natural way of thinking and doing things, then why is it such a difficult concept for teams (and organizations) to embrace?

A few of the Agile principles that align with this idea include: working software/outcomes is the primary measure of progress; deliver working software/products frequently; [and my favorite,] simplicity — the art of maximizing the work not done — is essential.

So why is it so hard for teams to think in small, bite-sized pieces. I believe it’s because “someone” has an idea of what should be delivered and teams have been conditioned to meet expectations “no matter what it takes” and without question. But this is an old mindset. Things have changed…or have they?

I’d like to propose a thought. What if, during ideation, select team members were included in the conversations. They could make suggestions for delivering a streamlined version of the product, so the business could get feedback and determine if this is the right approach or if they need to pivot.

Just like building a brick wall, the project is completed in segments and each brick adds to the final outcome. When an organization wants to deliver a new product (or enhance an existing product) they can save money, improve customer satisfaction, and may even create happier employees by breaking the work down into small components.

Chunk it down, prioritize the work, and focus on completing only that which must be done. This practice frees up time for more fun. Enjoy!

All my best,

Paulie Skaja
your mindset muse 🙂

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