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I was impressed at the amount of attention our first post received from the hackernews community, as well as the response from our local networks. As you can see from our analytics, we discovered a lot of people are interested in the idea of day planning.
The responses we received fell into three basic categories: this smells like micro-management, this doesn't deal with the hard part of planning, and, this is interesting so maybe I'll give it a try.
Ben Metcalfe responded by writing, "I think the granularity they are suggesting feels a little too micro-management like." Mike Ryan goes on to say much the same, while making allowances about the value of tracking non-technical tasks.
I think we reached a nice compromise in our discussion thread and I thank them for helping me refine the way we're explaining our concept. I agree I have to do a better job at explaining the granularity idea better, but this technique is definitely not a management technique.
Doing the board is not about managing people.
I think managing people is caring about your team, empowering them to make decisions, and helping them realize and improve their projects. Managing has nothing to do with day planning.
Day planning is about people learning to measure daily goals, celebrating their completion, and understanding their incompletion. Ultimately, planning your day is a way to interpret your workload and carve out the best path through it. It does, however, have some other implications for your team.
Transparency in a team can sometimes be uncomfortable. I know teams that don't share as much as we do about what each person is working on. I don't understand that.
It also became apparent that a lot of people associate negative connotations with task management. It's a common myth that you have to be extremely disciplined to get anything out of it. But that's another benefit of day planning. It's ok if you mess up, or forget about your board. Just erase it and start over.
Project Planning vs Day Planning
Planning a project is a completely unrelated to planning out your day. Day planning isn't about brainstorming features, researching ideas, creating and debating concepts, and finally deciding on a release plan. These activities exist at a much higher level.
We also have no desire to compete with products like pivotal tracker, things, or teux-deux, because they solve entirely different problems. Our technique is more like the "Today" list in a personal task management system, although ours is team-focused, and incorporates a colour-coding technique. And finally, our system has a nice benefit of self-correction that other task management systems lack, whereby ill-defined tasks draw attention to themselves by their incompletion.
This is interesting
My hope is that people who read these articles will take a leap of faith and decide to do the board for three or four days. I've even offered to lead daily planning meetings for free at any company (tech or non tech) in downtown Toronto. If you're interested in having me over, please reach out.
The amount of feedback (both positive and negative) is showing us that we're on to something useful. I look forward to hearing about your experiences doing the board.