Work Decomposition

Tips for breaking down work to “small enough”.

Reducing the batch size of delivered work is one of the most important things we can do to drive improved workflow, quality, and outcomes. Why?

  • We have fewer assumptions in the acceptance criteria because we had to define how to test them. The act of defining them as tests brings out questions. “How can we validate that?”
  • We are less subject to hope creep. We can tell within a day that we bit off more than we thought and can communicate that.
  • When we deliver and discover the story was wrong, we’ve invested less in money, time, and emotional attachment so we can easily pivot.
  • It makes us predictable
  • It helps to reset our brains on what “small” is. What many people consider small turns out to be massive once they see what small really is.

The following playbooks have proven useful in helping teams achieve this outcome.

Last modified December 15, 2023: Update work decomp tags (03a5308)