The Field Guide to Leading Teams

12/26One goal per day is enough.

People who make stuff, like programmers, writers, and designers, are limited to working on one or two intellectual tasks per day. That’s it.

If you’re assigning multiple goals per day to your team members you’re either foisting unrealistic expectations onto your team or you’re confusing goals and tasks. (see above)

The extra difficult piece of this is you might hear otherwise from contributors on your own team, compounding the difficulties of figuring out when you might be able to ship what, but that’s the simple truth. One goal per day.

This is because creative thinkers have a finite amount of energy to apply to these things on a daily basis, and building things is more about thinking and abstraction rather than typing lines of code or copy.

Best Practices

  • People who make stuff, like programmers, writers, and designers, are limited to working on one or two intellectual tasks per day. That’s it.
  • You might hear otherwise from developers on your team, compounding the difficulties of figuring out when you might be able to ship software, but that’s the simple truth. One thing (maybe two, or maybe a fraction of a thing) per day.
  • A “thing” is essentially any exercise that requires mental setup, then translating from an abstracted notion to an executed concept, and finally testing against acceptance criteria. In other words, building part or whole of a software product feature.
  • Programmers and other creative thinkers have a finite amount of energy to apply to these things on a daily basis, and building things is more about thinking and abstraction rather than typing lines of code.