Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hate to Rework?

What is your attitude toward rework? How often have you heard or said 'I already changed that! You want me to work on that again?' Rework can really demotivate you, especially when you are new to the field. You will see rework as you not getting it right the first time or reviewer not appreciating the effort you put in. Rework can also be very mechanical. You just need to add a line here, replace an image or remove word there.

When is it ok to rework several times?

a. When you are exploring a new approach: When you are trying something new, be prepared to rework. You are bound to realize that there are loose ends; things you had not thought of earlier; newer ideas that you think will work better; that old ideas do not have the necessary impact and so on.

How to tackle: Ensure that you are working in a group. Extra heads help identify the issues at an earlier stage. Have smaller milestones and frequent reviews.

b. When you have time to improve the quality: You know that your design is good but not great. The reviewer points out relevant value adds that can make your design great. Be open to this.

c. When you want to ensure you get it right: When is it important to get it 100% right? It is important to get it right when:
  • the training is in line with a primary role/skill
  • you want to being a attitudinal/behavioral change
  • you need solutions to bring about a mind shit
  • you have promised results
d. When the reviewer is adding value: It is important to allow the reviewer to add value to your work. If it can be improved, then why not? Be open to newer ideas.


When is rework frustrating?

a. When you don't see eye to eye with person giving the feedback: The person giving you feedback may be a client, an authority, a SME and so on. But, never fix something because you are being told to do so. Ensure that you are convinced that the change is a value add and will aid learning further.

How to tackle: Have long drawn discussions about why this change needs to be made. Share your concerns. Ensure you reach a consensus.

b: When there is no clarity on what the reviewer is thinking: This can be very frustratedly. If you continue blindly fixing, you will have several version before things are clear in the head of the reviewer.

How to tackle: Have detailed discussions to understand what the reviewer is trying to say. Ask the right questions to ensure that the reviewer thinks further. Do some research and share information with reviewer. Also, double check by restating what you have understood and what you are going to change.

c. When new things creep up at every round of review: This happens to most of us. Where the reviewer is pressed for time and therefore, scans through the storyboards and shares a top level feedback. This never gets over till they actually sit down and go through it.

How to tackle: If possible, arrange a meeting with the reviewer. Take them through the storyboard and fix issues in front of them.

d. When you are pressed for time: If you are pressed for time and the review cycles are just not getting over, there is a major problem. The possible reasons:
  • Time-effort allocation for this project was incorrect.
  • The reviewer has great expectations.
  • You are just not cut out for this work.

Attitude to Rework

Why did I feel the urge to blog on such a topic? This is because I used to hate rework myself. But, over the years, I would like to believe that I have checked this attitude. Two months back, I worked on a project that required extensive rework at several phases. I realized that (though I was frustrated at times) every time I reworked the product looked better. It is highly satisfying when you look at rework from this point of view.

Rework is probably as important as writing the storyboard for the first time. Be open to it. Respect the people you work with. Remember most people want to ensure that we have a good product. Your goal should also be aligned to this. It will help if you reduce obvious errors while storyboarding/fixing. The more challenging the project, the more the chances of rework. Follow this and it will help reduce rework:
  1. Ensure you understand what is required clearly before attempting to do it.
  2. Ask the right questions so that you have all the answers.
  3. Ensure that you are totally convinced about what you have done. If you are not, the reviewer is surely not going to be.
  4. Be proactive. Do some research to get a clearer understanding if you are unable to get it from the reviewer.
  5. Bounce ideas off peer if you are stuck.

7 comments:

Rupa said...

Good topic and nice points.

I hate rework too. But I do realize it makes the product looks better.

However it is really frustrating when people communicate specific requirements before you begin work and then change their requirements after seeing the product. I do not see any point in reworking if requirements keep changing.

But yes I agree with all your tips. It is very important to keep people in the loop and constantly check if evrything is on the right track.

Thanks for writing this :)

Archana Narayan said...

Thanks Rupa. :) It is actually scary when a reviewer/client says "something is missing" or "can we have something different?" Both these phrases are vague and indicates that he/she has no clue about what he wants.

VI said...
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Haroon said...

Thank you very much Archana, for writing this topic.

I don't know how to comment or write about some thing, just I want to say you is that.
thanks.

bye

Zav said...

content is ok but it is very boring i could say try to keep it interesting ...just a suggestion

Archana Narayan said...

Haroon, glad you found it useful and thanks for commenting. :)

Zav, thanks for your suggestion. This blog is about my experiences. Maybe my experiences are boring...

antoniasrego said...
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