Valérian de Thézan de Gaussan · Data Engineering for process-heavy organizations

The only Thing that Matters is Priority

Focusing on priority is a simple yet effective way of reducing waste in project management.

Show me a ticket from your backlog.

⏱ Give me 5 minutes, and I will show you that it’s a bug.
⏱ Give me an additional 5 minutes, and I will show you that it’s actually an enhancement.

🛑 Stop the endless debates between service providers and clients on this topic, to figure out under which contract clause it falls.

For an engineer, it’s a task to be done, period.

What matters is the priority of the task, that’s all.

Whether you are a manager or a developer, you are worth more than tickets, classifications, spreadsheets. Focus on the most important, focus on adding value.

To do this, take the client’s needs one by one and iterate on them.

Then, make sure it is the client who validates what has been done.

If the client comes back to something later, it becomes a “thing to do”, and that’s it. The only thing that is important to consider is the priority of “this thing to do”.

Last thing: When you receive feedback, avoid asynchronous communication. Don’t start anything else. Listen carefully, discuss, and make a list with your client of improvements. If you start something else in parallel, you will receive less-than-ideal feedback in the midst of something else, and that’s when the problems will start to accumulate.

In a few words.

Pick something important, work on it, get feedback, improve it.

Then figure what the next important thing to do is, and repeat.

You don’t need Sprints,
You don’t need Jira,
You need to focus.

Oh, and about “but everything is a priority

A very simple solution to use in situations where vision is blurred by multiple priorities:

Return to your mission statement.

A mission statement answers the question, “Why are you there, working every day?” It means knowing the purpose, the meaning of your mission.

Often in development projects, it’s something like, “You’re building a tool to help [a specific population] to [do something]”.

So, we show empathy and put ourselves in the place of that [specific population]!

Just with that, we can remove a lot of things from a backlog and get back to the essentials.