When I said goodbye to a corporate client last year, I decided to leave the team a cheat sheet in case they got stuck. It was a joke and like many jokes I make it was probably poorly understood.
The cheat sheet itself was interesting though. Not necessarily because it’s a fountain of original thought but because checklists can be useful when you can’t find your way out of a problematic situation. If anything, this list sometimes helps me to get unstuck. Funny thing I had to rewrite it to remove some “ubiquitous language” uttered at the client.
Although this list is non-exhaustive I’m sharing it with the world.
What do you think is missing? Tell me on Twitter
- Do you have bigger fish to fry than the thing you’re supposed to work on? Make it managements problem
- Pair with someone on the problem. Not just with people from your discipline and especially with people whom have a different point of view
- Visualize it. Don’t let yourself be limited. Use a whiteboard, an A3 sheet of paper, a bunch of post-its, a napkin, or another writable surface. Whatever is biggest and available nearby
- Take a break. Preferable not just for coffee. Walks of 30 minutes can do wonders
- Think of at least two alternatives to your current solution. Why are they better? Why are they worse?
- Identify where problems may arise in the process
- Get domain experts involved with an Event Storming workshop
- Make it ugly to provoke someone else to take over
- Advise to do the alternative
- Use the process to effect change in the process. For example: use the company mission statement as an alibi for what you want to do
- Be vocal if you have objections. If you’re an introvert look for ways to find your voice
- Listen to the language that people use. Always be skeptical of ambiguous language. Never be afraid to ask a dumb question
- Write a test for it
- Push early and often
- Outsource the problem to an expensive consultant
- Take time for yourself and your private life whenever you need to. Nothing kills creativity like having private matters on your mind
- Spend time training juniors and let them learn by trying and failing
- Be the change you want to see
- Take a few minutes for a retrospectives after any event (i.e. pairing session, poker session, meeting, etc.). Put the emphasis on the positive that needs repeating
- Have fun with the team. Try to go home happy every day
- Rules are guidelines, so is this cheat sheet