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Leadership Nudge® 298 – Be Agile: Chunk and Complete

Chunking work into shorter complete cycles by scheduling a pause gives us a chance to reflect on the completed work and decide on the next step. The added benefit of many completes within the scope of a project allows for improvements to take place.

Learn More

You can learn more about this by reading Chapter 6 (The End of Redwork: Complete) in David’s NEW book, Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say — And What You Don’t, available now.


Leadership is language. One of the things that strikes me is the way we were taught to run projects or deliver our products and services for our customers. It is about continuing, complying, and following the plan. It looks something like this – we figure out everything upfront: we know the scope of this, we know the people who will work on it, we know the budget, we know all the risks, and we’ve worked to mitigate all those risks. We know in the beginning, we’re going for x and this project may take a year. In the beginning of the project we think yes x. Yes, that’s what we want. We go a little further and then say Oh, I’m not so sure about this x thing. And as we get closer to delivery, we actually know we should be delivering “y.” This is not a very smart way to deliver things to our customer. 

 Instead, we want to pause, evaluate, and follow the value. That looks like this – we figure out just enough up front to get going. We may think in the beginning we’re going for x, but we’re looking at this in a more agile way of doing product development. We work in a short period of time–  this is the red work. This is the production work where we’re in flow and executing on what we want to deliver to show our customers. Then we deliver a nice little package, a potential releasable product. Then we call a pause for improvement – into the blue work, where we evaluate, we get feedback, and we think about what we’re going to do next. This feedback informs our decision making about the next period of red work so we have something even better, to deliver to our customers. And again we get feedback and it informs our decision making about what we’re going to do in the next period of red work. Then finally, here we have the package that our customers love and it’s “y.”  

So instead of continuing and complying and following the plan, we want to pause and evaluate and follow the value.  

Learn more by reading our Blog post here – The Complete Play: Chunk Work for Frequent Completes Early, Few Completes Late.



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