Two Things I Practised in 2021

As the year is coming to an end, I started looking back at the things that helped me in my day-to-day work in 2021. I found that two particular ideas were always in the back of my head, stirring my actions and improving what I did. Thought I shared them in case they can help someone else as well.

The 5 thieves of time

In her book Making Work Visible, Dominica Degrandis presents the five thieves of time of our productive work, how to identify them and how to stop them.

Unplanned work

Neglected work

Unknown dependencies

Conflicting priorities

Too much WIP

Dominica Degrandis – Time Theft: How Hidden and Unplanned Work Commit the Perfect Crime

If I was tempted to start something new, I looked if I had finished what I’ve started and if I already had too much in my plate. Any time a new request came in I thought of the dependencies and if other things needed to be decommitted to actually work on it. And when unplanned worked popped up, as it always does, instead of jumping to it I weighted everything first and then decide whether it’s the right time to do it.

All and all, I found the five thieves to be excellent time and focus management help.

Systems Thinking as presented by Dr. Ackoff

Sometimes the YouTube algorithm works wonders and suggests a gem of a video by Dr. Russ Ackoff on how systems thinking is fundamental for quality improvements.

Dr Russ Ackoff

After binge watching his presentations (the man was a gifted story teller) his System’s Thinking message started to sink in. I started looking beyond our tool at the environment that surrounds it. If we were to release a new feature, I tried to give a heads up to the other teams about the changes. When we got a request, I’ve tried to change my perspective to see if this is something that could be addressed better somewhere else.

The most profound change his teachings had, was to look for ways to improve what we have rather than fixing all the problems we encounter. I’m still working to get better on that one.


Leaving 2021 behind, I look forward to 2022 to learn more and share the benefits of those learnings with the wonderful people I work with.

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