Craftsman at Work

I'm Artur Karbone, coding software architect and independent IT consultant and this is my blog about craftsmanship, architecture, distributed systems, management and much more.

Managements Tips and Tricks Part 1: Who What When

The Goal

In this post I want to share a technique You can leverage to get things done. Especially when You collaborate with other people.

The Case

  • Someone promised to accomplish something but haven't accomplished
  • We agreed on 5 items, but only 3 of them have been completed.
  • You forgot to double check the work has been completed and it is a technical debt now

The Solution

It's easy to avoid all these issues by using "Who What When" technique.
When You agreed with someone on something or someone committed to do the work, just add yet another record to Your list. The notation is simple Who committed to do What and When should we catch up on it. That's it. It's that simple. I prefer to keep it in a form of a table. For instance:

Who What When
John Code review Mike's changes By the end of this day
Mary Finish up user stories for the next sprint By the beginning of this Thursday

The advantage of having such a list is obvious:

  • You are not going to micromanage (and no one likes being micromanaged), since You have a clear answer When You should check.
  • Before putting something on the list You probably agreed on it with other counterparts. It sounds more like a commitment already
  • Use this technique during meetings. Usually we talk a lot out there. Let's convert our conversation into actions using this simple technique.
  • People will know that You are not the guy who asked to do something and forgot to check later on
  • You don't have to keep all these little things in your brain

Regarding the last one statement, David Rock in his book Your Brain at Work
suggest (well, at least it is my interpretation) to use Your brain as a processor not as a storage.

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