The more busy you are, the better planner you become
How would you describe planning in your daily routine at work? Do you practice planning at all? Is it time consuming or a fast exercise? Is it challenging or an easy step during the day? How does this benefit you? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
All these questions’ answers will give a clear picture of the planning process and its place in your daily work in a software development company. I would say for myself that if I miss to add a small task in my schedule for the next day, then there is a big possibility this task won’t be done on the next day or could even be forgotten.
I guess you, as a PM or an owner of a software development company, are one of those busy people that always brings with them that thick notebook and makes notes for every little change in their life - new appointments, meetings, events, tasks, etc. You probably prefer reminders on your smart phone, or you always keep your calendar updated? Or worse, you count on a combination of all of the do-not-forget methods above.
My admirations – you are a really busy person but still you don’t give extra stress to your brain forcing it to remember everything. One of my mentors used to say: “ Smart people write things down, dull people try to remember”. It turns out the more busy people are, the more they count on planning their life every day. Otherwise they risk failure in having so many responsibilities.
Planning needs to save time or…
I assume that based on your To-Do list you make a plan every single day for the next day and when is the best time for this action- at the end of the day, of course. Why? Because you already know if you have missed to complete a task from the current day, so you need to plan it for the next day. Also when you have already created your schedule for the next day, you have the night time to reconsider the plan and to adjust or change something, if necessary.
Can you imagine the chaos in your daily work without planning? It is quite possible that you will lose yourself in jumping from one task to another, leave incomplete tasks due to an upcoming meeting or an appointment, then go back but forget where you are up to and finally it becomes impossible to concentrate and take a lead of the working process. Such situations would slow down your tasks completion and this would hamper your overall productivity and efficiency during the day.
Let’s get back to the planning idea as an important part of your work. Now that you have the habit to plan and you are convinced that it works for you, why don’t you implement this approach in your whole company? Developers working in a software development team are among the busiest employees of all professions. Their time is always valuable because in most cases it is insufficient during the software development process and it depends on precise time estimations.
For Scrum teams who work on software development projects, a Sprint time to complete all tasks in a Backlog is a challenge. How do they manage this without planning? This is almost impossible. Each developer needs to plan their tasks at the end of the day based on the tasks selected by themselves from the Backlog list and according to their own competences- this is how typical Scrum teams do it (check if you are Scrum or Scrumbut answering the questionnaire ). In this way they will always be aware of what they have done and what remains to be done in the short-term. Time spent on planning, organization and preparatory consideration at the end of the day will ensure them a smooth working process and based on this a chance for more tasks to be completed in the next day.
The example above will give you a clear idea on how spending time actually saves time - and this is a paradox when we talk about planning. Furthermore, in software development teams when developers learn to plan they will have the opportunity to asses planned vs. real implementation and define for themselves what their weaknesses and strengths during the software development process are. Based on this they can work to improve the weaknesses and take advantage of the strengths, they will become fully aware of their capabilities and use them wisely.
In the long-term this planning habit will save time and it will make it possible for a developer to do more work in one day then the situation before and this is because they have a realistic idea of their own performance limits.
Better spend some time at the end of the day to plan your next day’s To-Do list and then appreciate the spare time of the upcoming day or enjoy the additional tasks that you were able to complete, than feel angry and tired of the anarchy of misconduct and negligence that would have cost you just a few minutes and just a change of habit.
Would you agree with this quotation or you are too busy to waste time on planning? Maybe you are too busy because you are unable to plan?
The habit of planning would also make it easier for software development team members to make more accurate time estimations because they are already aware of their own capabilities to work on specific tasks based on their own assessment they have made.
Do you encourage your developers to plan at the end of the day?
Are they happy with this or they resist?
Do you plan yourself?