216/365 Breaking big items into small chunks

Breaking big items into small chunks might be part of our DNA but yet we find it extremely difficult at times. If you are at the dinner table I am sure that is not a problem. But dinner table is not the only place where life asks you to break things down. It can be a very time consuming activity.

The primary reason I guess is that even small chunks need to make sense. If it is food it just needs to be of the right size for you to chew on or swallow. But if you take something like Goals breaking them down into actionable chunks is a whole different ball game. There are a lot more parameters than size.

At work, as an Agile practitioner we come across this process of breaking feature requests into user stories which are small chunks of software development work that we can complete. The guide usually is the acronym INVEST which is a yard stick that a small chunk should be Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small and Testable. If it is INVEST then it is good. Much easy to say than do. There is a whole deal of understanding and knowledge that backs this process of breaking down.

You cannot break something down if you do not really understand the big picture

With Goals we often hear the Acronym SMART which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Now when you are breaking Goals down further it has to still follow the SMART process.

Some people like to break Goals into weekly chunks while some do monthly chunk, but the key is being able to see a progress as you consume (achieve) each chunk.

If you spend your heart in planning you can avoid gasping as you leap

It is not uncommon that people discount the need for planning. I am not talking elaborate planning that delivers a 500 page document or 3 hour powerpoint. I am talking about the time you spend planning for the month, for the week, for the day.

Someone once asked a guy ‘Do you plan?’ and the guy replied “not always, but only what I achieved after planning can be repeated, rest is all accidental.”

True we all have a chance of becoming an accidental achiever but I don’t think anyone will put all eggs in that basket.

Categories: Being Agile, Life

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