January 3, 2020

Iterating Day by Day

One of the most important things I have learned from working at GitLab is the idea of making each iteration cycle as small as possible. In other words, to quote the handbook:

Iteration means making the smallest thing that adds value and getting it out as quickly as possible. Working like this allows us to reduce cycle time and get feedback from users faster, so we can continue to improve quickly and efficiently.

Even though its only the third day of 2020, one of the things I've been working hard at is to iterate by each day. In other words, rather than spending lots of time planning out grandiose goals, I've been doing my best live by the GitLab way of iteration.

What's so hard about iterating?

While this mindset may not be hard for some, I know that one of my challenges is the perfectionist mindset. This often leads me to spending more time planning the execution of a task because the thought of executing a task imperfectly would send a shudder down my spine as I would envision people being horrified that I'd even think to do it such a hacky way.

However, if I'm being honest with myself, the number of times that actually happened was imaginary. Because after all, the worse thing I could do is not implement imperfect solutions; but to stop there and never iterate on it again.

How am I trying to put iteration into practice?

Since this mindset is more foreign to me, I have had to be more intentional about how I spend my time. Inspired by the Pareto principle, which states that 20% of actions are the case for 80% of the results, I am trying to only spend 20% of my time planning and spending 80% on taking action (regardless of how imperfect it is).

Final Thoughts

The mindset of iteration continues to be a struggle with each day, but I know that it's a critical skill I will need in order to make the changes I desire. And so even though there's a part of me that wants to sit here and continue working on this post, I have to remember that there will be additional opportunities to write on this topic as my journey continues. Till next time!