Tip 14: Work to The List
Getting started with your own copy of The List is easy. First, create a list of every task you are working on (or have pending). Then, with your tech lead, assign a priority to each item. Finally, put a time estimate with each item. Don’t worry about getting the time estimates perfect the first time, you’ll improve over time.
For the team:
- Put every feature that you are adding to your project on a white board
- Assign priorities to each feature. Be sure to include the proper stakeholders (management, customers, etc.) in this process.
- Rewrite all of the features, sorted by priority
- Attach time estimates to each item
The List must be:
- Publicly available
- On a time line
- For an entire day, write down every task as you work on it (this will be your “finished” list).
- Organize whatever daily task list you do have into a formal copy of The List.
- Ask your tech lead to help you prioritize your work and add rough time estimates.
- Start working on the highest-priority item on The List—no cheating! If some crisis forces a lower-priority item higher, record it.
- Add all new work to The List.
- Move items to your finished list as you complete tasks (this makes surviving status reports and “witch-hunts” much easier).
- Review The List every morning. Update it whenever new work pops up. . . especially the last-minute crisis tasks; you’re likely to forget about those when someone asks you what you on earth you did all last week.
- Is every one of your current tasks on The List?
- Does The List accurately portray your current task list?
- Did the tech lead or customer help you to prioritize The List?
- Is The List publicly available (electronically or otherwise)?
- Do you use The List to decide what to work on next?
- Can you update (and publish) The List quickly?