To do lists and the death of passion in IT. Part One.

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I don’t recall meeting someone that works in IT not mentioning about managing long to do lists. I remember being in the same situation in 2014. In those times I was testing so many productivity systems. And list management became the preferred one among my colleagues. Meanwhile, complexity appeared and it transformed into a list of lists of to do.

Every discussion about time management became a new list. Each interaction a recording of sorts. In the morning I used to spend one and a half hour to manage a list. Later, I spent another 30 minutes in the afternoon to record all activities done. For me this was the death of passion and it determined me to find new ways of organising my work and life. 

to do list

To give some context, the work of an informatician has the purpose of processing information. And identify optimal solutions to organise data for those who use it. We work with various data structures that allow us to manage things in a way that makes the processing possible. We combine those structures into patterns to ease our work. The ‘big ones’ from the industry promised that at one point the reutilisation will revolutionise the computer world, if we learn to describe the world in objects.

My colleague from CSIE (ASE University), Alin Zamfiroiu has a series of great tutorials about data structures. You can find them on YouTube at GreenCode channel. I  am referring to these structures because I will use them to describe the working methods I have observed. 

Back to my problem with lists :). IT work has become a list management issue lately. In addition, there are a lot of books on this topic that suggest ways to document, order, operate on to do lists. Moreover, there are companies that have big lists and outsource smaller lists to other companies. We got to the point of having development marathons with running sprints to demonstrate our speed in burning the list. So many individual and team trials.

tree adt

I took a breath of fresh air when I rediscovered the beauty of Tree (a widely used abstract data type). My facilitation in the teams I worked with implied the construction of such a mental concept so that we can obtain in the end an integrated product.

At first I had the impression that this trivial matter will not work. However, when I started drawing on the whiteboard these types of structures, we got enlightened and started to generate results.

Why? I will explain more and share my conclusions in part two. Stay tuned!

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