Maintain a Backlog
Story + Microlesson: Backlog
I co-founded a startup in 2014. The idea was that my contribution as a creative would be essential to the company’s success. We assembled a team like it was a marvel movie but we did not have all the roles that a company needed. So we dealt out the missing roles arbitrarily like a game of Uno.
I got the additional role of being the COO on top of being in charge of Creative. I had no idea what a COO would do. So I watched 10 episodes of Silicon Valley. What I found useful was - SCRUM, a complete system of managing a team to produce increasingly higher valuable output.
So I got the book, and the audiobook- “Scrum - the art of doing twice the work in half the time”. And run our team with SCRUM.
THE BACKLOG (the backbone of scrum)
WHEN YOU START A COMPANY, there are literally a million things to do. There is also a limited amount of hours to do them before you run out of money and the game ends.
You need a place to collect all the things you could do. In scrum, this ‘place’ is called the backlog. The backlog is arranged in order of greatest impact at the top. The idea is to always be working on the things that bring the greatest impact. (The vital few)
At regular intervals based on new information, we reorder the backlog and keep working on the top priorities, ignoring everything else.
As an illustrator, I maintain my own backlog :- Jobs that need getting done, classes that need to be taken, contract negotiations, revisions, social media, writing newsletters, promotion, billing. And I still have a day job (part-time). Every week I decide the importance of the things that need to get done and do them in that order. Ignoring everything else.
People ask me how I do so much, I don’t I just do one thing at a time. The most important thing. And I ignore everything else.
How you could use this:
Write a project objective. “e.g: I want 90% of my income to be from illustration jobs by 2022”.
Write down everything you could do to make that a reality. Use post its. One post it for one item.
Order the list in order of most impact to least impact.
Attack the post its starting from the top of the list.
Every week add new post its and continue to reorder the list.
Ignore everything that is not on a post it.
This is a simplification, but it’s enough to get you started.