If you’re backlogged and you want to get out, here’s a quick, low tech, brute force approach. I’ve used it on my teams many times to help people get unstuck and to feel like they’re getting results.
Map It Out
Here’s the steps:
- Queue. On your whiteboard, first write your key backlog items. This is your queue. If you don’t have a whiteboard, substitute a sheet of paper. The point is keep it visible and simple.
- To Do. Next to it, write down To Do.
- Rule of 3. Under To Do, write the three most valuable things you’ll complete today. Not tomorrow or in the future, but what you’ll actually get done today.
Bite off enough to feel good about what you accomplished when the day is done.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
The Rule of 3
Each day for this week, grab a new set of three. When you nail the three, grab more. Again, only bite off as much as you can chew for the day. At the end of the week, you’ll feel good about what you got done.
Why This Works
This is a technique I’ve seen work for many colleagues and it’s stood the test of time. There’s a few reasons behind why this tends to work:
- Whiteboards make it easy to step back, yet keep focus.
- You only bite off a chunk at a time, so you don’t feel swamped.
- As you get things done, you build momentum.
- You have constant visual feedback of your progress.
- Lesser priority things slough off.
The beauty is, results build momentum. I’ve seen it time and again.