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Make a List

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Imagine for a moment that you are in charge of an end-to-end global supply chain with very high seasonal demand. You spend most of the year prepping for one big contract, with a massive scope and a 100% immovable deadline. One day per year, you work a 24-hour shift to deliver custom orders to every single household on the planet. What's your first step?

You'd make a list. You might even check it twice.

That's right, even Santa Claus lives by his checklists.

Lists are an incredibly powerful tool for planning and getting work done. This is obvious to most people, but still we neglect to make them when we most need to. The simple act of decomposing anything complex into its parts helps us to conceptualize the whole more completely, and leaves fewer items to interpretation when collaborating on work items.

When shared with the team, lists are a unifying force. We all agree on what we're doing, because it's been committed to ink (or pixels) right there in front of all of us. We can see our progress toward our goal as we check items off. We know what our next steps are when we've finished our current tasks.

Your Dev Board is just such a team-unifying list. Your dev board should be the rallying point for your team. It's not just for your project managers to get status updates. It is the concrete visualization of the abstract work being done. The team as a whole owns the board because the team as a whole owns the product. Ideally, any developer can self-assign the next item in the to-do list, and will be responsible for advancing that item along the board as it progresses through the development process. This keeps the board up to date more easily, and avoids the bottleneck that occurs when you're waiting for one person to dole out the work.

So make a list. Check it twice. And empower your entire team to address the items on the list.

Ben Wilhelm

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