Now that we’ve pressed “pause” it seems like the perfect opportunity to rethink how work gets done.

Separated by quarantine, individual productivity has now been elevated for all to see. We’re all just black boxes with narrow but public interfaces: inputs and outputs. 

You either produce something of value to internal or external customers or you don’t.

Simply go through a “customer/supplier” exercise with each team member. Have them list what they are working on and who supplies them with content, formatting, or interim work products. Then have them add their downstream customers. For most folks the exercise is simple. For some it’s brutal.

I ran this exercise for a team of technology folks. Each person was asked to come to the meeting with a list of what they were working on and who their suppliers/customers were. As each person presented their list, the rest of the team confirmed, elaborated, or questioned its accuracy.

Of the 15 participants only one could not gain consensus on any work-in-progress, customers or suppliers. After the meeting that same person commented to me about how brutal the exercise had been and how he needed to rethink the value of his role going forward.

You can perform this exercise in a less brutal manner using virtual tools like Trello.
Each person creates activity cards and places them in one of four columns:

  1. What work is in their backlog,
  2. What’s next to work on,
  3. What they are working on now,
  4. What’s done.

Others can offer to join or attach themselves to a card. Work products can also be attached to individual cards as well. The cards are then moved between the columns in real time like production “sprints.” Those activities in the “done” column can then be moved to another team members backlog column etc.

So now you have a transparent and granular view into your teams workflow and who’s contributing or who’s not.

Isn’t it time to reboot how your work gets done?

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to