Identify the Path Not Taken

Efforts to track work to be performed or tasks to complete usually focus on what will be done. When a decision is made to not do something, the decision is less likely to be recorded. Or, instead of being identified as something that will not be done, it's pushed aside into a bucket or "parking lot" for things to be looked at at some indefinite point in the future.

These kinds of practices only create problems in the future. Often they are avoidance techniques, to avoid the kinds of difficult conversations that sometimes come with saying "no" to something. But this is risky. It may signal to others a commitment that the work will eventually be performed, even if there is no intent to ever tackle it.

Better to clearly call out the work, tasks, or items that will not be done, and go ahead and deal with the difficult conversation. This helps maintain guardrails around the vision, mission, or strategy, and ensure that focus can be maintained on the work that has been deemed more important. It also helps avoid awkward conversations that cover the same terrain over and over again.


Related

Citations

Harrington, Matt. “Why Your Roadmap Should Have a ‘Not Doing’ Section.” Public Digital (blog), June 21, 2021. https://public.digital/2021/06/09/why-your-roadmap-should-have-a-not-doing-section.


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