A few years ago, Matt was listening to me complain about the amount of work I felt I had to do with due dates of “yesterday”.
“Wendy – ask yourself these three questions:
- Does it need to be done?
- Does it need to be done by me?
- Does it need to be done by me right now?”
Since that conversation, I’ve been using these questions to evaluate priority.
The first question is, to me, the most powerful.
Does it need to be done?
On a recent project, the project champion asked for a status containing
- the number of issues found
- the number of issues resolved
- the number of issues outstanding with the vendor
- the number of issues outstanding with the IT department
What needed to be done – get those 4 numbers and give them to the project champion
What did NOT need to be done – develop an automated dashboard and data visualizations.
What we did – develop a dashboard (we didn’t have the integration to automate it) and data visualizations.
What we reverted back to after showing the project champion what we did – a table with those 4 numbers.
We learned a lot in that process, but it was also effort, cognitive bandwidth and time that could have been spent elsewhere.
The question “Does it need to be done?” speaks to scope.
It speaks to effective minimum effort to meet the objective.
The simplest solution is often the best solution.
And time is often the tightest constraint.
Time spent doing things that don’t need to be done is time away from more valuable activities.