I am a big fan of Pat Kua’s tiny tasks and to see my desk would be to believe that there had been an invasion of yellow stickies on the planet.
Pat explains the idea on his website but to summarise; the idea is that given a story, you break it down into the individual tasks that need to be done in order for it to be complete, write each tasks on a sticky and then when that task is finished throw the sticky away.
This has really well for me because I am inclined to lose focus/get distracted and having a list of tasks that I need to do helps keep me on track.
This week it has come to me that perhaps the metaphor needs to be extended slightly. There have been a couple of occasions when I have been working on something and I complete all the tasks I needed to, but then I break something else which was reliant on something that I changed.
The work I’m doing is in the build area so the idea of having a suite of tests to protect me from making that mistake is not there.
My immediate thought is that along with writing the tiny tasks I should also write some dependency tasks which will help me to recognise what things are reliant on the story I am doing, and therefore allow me to either make the necessary changes in these areas or just not break them!
In a way I suppose this is just an extension of the idea of tiny tasks but for me it requires a bigger picture look at how what I’m doing effects the rest of the world and therefore it makes sense for me to view the two things separately right now.
I’m going to give this idea a try and report back on how it’s worked out. Hopefully it will stop me breaking things quite so much. As always any ideas are welcome.