The Done Undone

working on this?!” is what Ido, a senior engineer who worked on my team at RapidAPI, used to frequently say out of deep frustration. I can truly relate. I remember when I was working at Wiser, we were constantly getting more work and work done without an end in sight. Another component to code, another feature to deliver. But even after a perfectly done execution, a week or two afterwards a Change was needed. It could have been just a small bug to a specific client. Or that we haven’t entirely 100% resolved what the company is still continuously trying to resolve. The need is not yet fulfilled. We merely thought we were done with it, but we never were. And we never will. Let’s talk about how Tasks are born and die.

Chasing Waterfalls

Change entails Feedback that entails Change. We need to pause and ask ourselves “has it always been like this?”. So let’s take a little detour. Let’s go back to the days before Agile and get a quick history lesson. We’d know better where we are when we know where we came from. To understand how The Wheel of Change does any good.

Spin Planning

We realized how important it is for it to keep spinning, to meet business needs. And we do so by making sure to deliver fast by delivering small. And as change entails feedback, it would entail we’d be getting back a small feedback. Which would entail only a small change. Let's start talking about how these insights affect our day-to-day work, what challenges they present and how to overcome them.

Throttling

In this chapter, we’re going to examine another property of it. The spin has a speed which can be controlled by throttling it correctly. By speeding it up & slowing it down when necessary. That would require to act correctly under necessity itself and overcome it.

Fruition

Good timing is knowing when the exact time is to do a Change. And it relies on having a clear expected value. But only when the Change is done, the actual value presents itself. From the moment of initiation to the moment of completion, we go through a process or fruition which ends with the actual value. The actual value and the expected will probably differ, but they also differ because of the duration of the fruition process.

Staying Inert

In the last few chapters we’ve talked about three concepts. Throttling, where some actions we take spins The Wheel of Change and causes the change-feedback-change cycle; Inertia, when the spin takes control over us; And fruition, the time it takes for the actual value to surface v.s. the perceived value. In this chapter, we’re going to see how thinking of the three together helps us avoid executions of valueless tasks.