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Discussion on: Informal work lists

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Jasper Woudenberg Author

Yeah, I imagine so! I think that would definitely help with the problem of combining these backlogs in a single place. But as you say I do think that would lower friction to create new tickets. I think having some backpressure for adding items to a queue can be healthy, because it might encourage us to consider alternatives to creating work for future us:

  • If it's a small thing: fix it now. Waiting is only going to make it more expensive.
  • When skipping a test: if there's no plan for unskipping it again consider deleting the test instead.
  • For tasks that fall in the "nice to have" category: drop it and trust the thought will occur to others at the relevant moment. I think this might be one of the hardest things.
  • When I feel strongly about a task: commit myself to championing it to make sure we make time for it.

That's just a selection of I think can be useful considerations in some contexts about how to frame a task. A backlog that's super easy to pile tasks on doesn't do much to encourage this kind of thinking. The cost comes later and is hidden.

It's interesting because I think a technique like Getting Things Done explicitly encourages us to use a todo list to jot down thoughts that would otherwise distract us from the main thing we're trying to do in the moment, and I do buy that as well.