When something comes across your desk, that something being;
- A new feature
- A napkin with some requirements on it
- A blackbox that no one has ever seen but has to be tested
- That new project that doesn’t push the envelope, but takes it, rips it up and creates a new one.
The first question is always the same;
“When can you have it done?”
And the first thing that goes through your mind, everyone’s mind is always the same…
“Wasn’t expecting this today, got a lot on my plate, how do I fit this in?”
And from there we modify our thoughts on time without knowing. It stops becoming about what we want to accomplish but how fast we can get it down to get it off of our plate and back to the stuff that really matters, that perhaps we really care about, after all, we’ve only seen only been exposed to this new something for 30 seconds.
But this immediately becomes our downfall, because we are no longer estimating our time to complete something in what would have normally been “Typical Time” but instead in ye’old “Accelerated Time” where the push is to get it done, and not necessarily out the door, but off your plate so you can get back to focussing on what matters.
If you’re already thinking about getting it off your plate, you’re probably not best suited to work on this something because your heart and passion isn’t there to do it right. This goes beyond grunt work and extends into what really drives you which is a whole other topic.
I used to work with someone who would always provide estimates in “Accelerated Time” because things were so busy. It was impossible to help them because their estimates were so low, any amount of slush and confidence factor to buffer their work and give them more time was minimal at best. Instead they were always late, always missing deadlines, always frustrated, never able to focus on what they really wanted to do and as each new something when buy and their estimates got lower and lower and lower they sunk into rapid burnout. Right up until that moment where they left.
All this because they gave estimates, not in typical time to get something done but in some weird black-hole time where they thought getting it off their plate the fastest would be the best approach to get back to that work. When in fact, providing the estimate in typical time, breaking it down, understanding the barriers, etc, etc might have been what sends the signal that more people are needed to accomplish this something and perhaps get that something off their plate before they even started.