When working on an issue, it is easy to get sidetracked by other unrelated changes that need to be made. I’ve found that instead of addressing other issues as I spot them, taking a moment to open an issue and then ignoring them allows me to stay focused on the task at hand.
Art Imitates Programmers
I love this video from the TV show Malcom in the Middle. In it, the father Hal goes to change a light bulb and in the process finds other tasks that require his attention. Instead of staying focused, he ends up tackling a much larger project without changing the lightbulb.
Don’t be Hal. When you spot an unrelated problem, like a wobbly shelf, document the problem in an issue and then ignore it while you focus on your original task.
I love this so much. It took me a while to get to where I could do this without worrying about all the things I find. Making a ticket/issue made this so much easier for me. But when you work on a team or for clients, it’s even more important. Generally, my job is to highlight issues I find. It’s up to the client, agency or business to decide if it’s worth the time/cost to address that issue.
I ran into this a lot at WDS. We would find problems in client code and some people would tell me not to say anything about it. But instead I would start a thread on basecamp about it, talk about why it was an issue and the possible solutions with estimates for the various ways to address the issue. The client almost ALWAYS picks one of the routes that fixes the issue. It might not be the top priority but they were super thankful for me brining it up and I have NO DOUBT it had a positive impact on the bottom line in our department. I created more work for the company and my team specifically. Something I’m very proud of.
Sal Ferrarello says
Great points Chrispian! Thanks for adding this supporting information (it’s like I wrote a longer blog post without having to do the work, ha ha).