Input, Output and Actions – Back to basics

I was recently going through my RSS feeds and found an old article that I’d apparently earmarked for later reading. That seemed to start a trend and I kept going further and further back – several years back actually.

And that got me thinking….

What is the one trend that we (broad brush term) keep doing in this industry? We look forward…Constantly looking at what’s coming…what’s next…where do we go from here…where will “this” evolve to. We look at the gadgets, devices, frameworks, tools and services to innovate – because that’s where we are expected to look and then we moan when we don’t understand the basics – when that developer we just hired doesn’t get fundamental program construction or when we make mistakes ourselves.

We are quite often afraid to look at what we left behind – mostly because that’d make us be aware and acknowledge the mistakes we’ve made.

One of the bloggers out there that I quite often enjoy reading (i’m a consumer off his blog, not a participant) is Alberto Gutierrez¬†and he’s the author of the blog that I’d bookmarked an entry from.

His blog entry “Forget about requirements, Software Development is all about inptus, outputs and actions” was what jump started my brain into gear and got me thinking about what I’m often doing wrong.

  • Labelling – i’m fanatical at labelling tasks

This helps me organise my work into segments that I can manage – or so I thought..Alberto’s blog entry must have sparked something that made me bookmark it back in 2009. And here it was. My labelling actually isn’t helping me. It’s making it unnecessarily complex. The fact of the matter is that it’s a task – one which has to be done – one which contributes to an overall goal. So, as Alberto puts it: It’s an input.

The result of that input is output – yeah, once the task has been completed of course.

I then set out to make this change to how I was managing things and the idea was to see if this would speed up what I set out to complete. Over a couple of weeks I did notice that the simplification of what I was doing was helping me spend less time organising and more time achieving.

I scrapped all my previous tasks lists and just made a single list. I use “Remember the milk” to manage my inputs – use whichever you want to use, the important thing really is that it’s available to you when you need it.

Full circle – looking back (or going back to basics) can quite literally be more valuable than to look for the future.

As Confucius said “Study the past if you would define the future”. It rang true with me and I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Making mistakes isn’t bad – as long as you recognise it, you can avoid making it again and that goes for all aspects of life really – not just for the professional side, but also in the personal.