As software developers we’re constantly tasked with taking on large-scale projects and breaking them down into smaller, more manageable development projects. In fact, the single most important facet of ‘Agile’ (the development methodology we use here at GGA) is to completely deconstruct each element of a project in order to constantly deliver easily digestible ‘chunks’ of it to the client.
Although this language is specific to our industry, there’s no doubt that breaking down large jobs into much smaller, manageable sections is a business practice ANYONE in ANY industry can take on to improve both productivity and efficiency.
So how do you do this in your everyday business (or personal) life? Well we can only speak for ourselves, but for us it works something like this:
1) During our weekly planning sessions (you can read about those here) we look at what our agreed deliverables are for the coming week.
2) We then scope out the top-level goals we need to achieve said deliverables and separate them into individual ‘jobs’ which are added into our project management software.
3) Depending on the complexity of these individual ‘jobs’ we then dissect them as a team in order to break them down even further. This is done by creating a checklist of ‘micro-jobs’ that must be completed in order to mark the jon as finished.
4) Once all the jobs are complete and tested internally we are then able to fully test the main ‘goal’ in it’s entirety. Simple!
So that’s a really simplified version of how we work, but the basic point of this is to show that by deconstructing big jobs into smaller components and THEN breaking them down even further, you suddenly find the following happens:
1) Large, looming jobs and deadlines become less daunting when presented as bite-size pieces.
2) You can constantly reassess the priorities and rejig the order of tasks that need to be undertaken.
3) You can get other people to work on different jobs without affecting what you are currently doing.
4) Even if the desired main goal isn’t achieved by the deadline, you’ll still have a set of quantifiable jobs completed that can be presented to clients or used as a basis for the next period of work.
Of course, the concept of breaking down complicated jobs into much more easily-handled components can be applied to all facets of life, and in fact, the majority of us here at GGA now use this concept in our personal lives to help us plan and achieve our own personal ambitions.
Seriously, give it a go. First in your business life, and then use the basic conciets in your own daily life. It’s a brilliant life hack!