Analysis of task before execution

Questions from "The Question":

How do you comprehensively assess a task before it is completed? What aspects can it be divided into?

It depends on the task, of course. But if you summarize it, you can reduce it to such a list:

1. Critical evaluation of the positive aspects - how realistic they are and whether they hide the problems at visible advantage.

2. Searching for risks and negative sides - what risks are possible in the execution of a task, how they will influence its successful execution, and what actions are required to minimize the damage in case one (or more) of such risks will come true.

3. Prioritization - if a task is considered in the context of other tasks and some general process, it is also worth to evaluate the priorities. To what extent is the task prioritized in relation to other tasks? Will its immediate execution jeopardize the other tasks, or on the contrary, if it is not implemented in the short term, may lead to low efficiency or new risks of the overall process?

4. Balancing up - you can find out from this point the value of the task (both by itself and in relation to other tasks in a process). We take the positive and negative aspects that we have identified. Relying on them, we try to understand:

a) in isolation from other processes - how useful the task is in itself

b) in the context of the general process - how valuable is the task in relation to other tasks and the general system.

If rough, this analysis usually leads to three conclusions:

  • The task is valuable - its execution is necessary.
  • The task is neutral - its value brings neither benefit nor harm (at least a tangible conclusion - such a task can be postponed or excluded because it is not reasonable to spend time on it).
  • The task makes hurt (difficult to do, or it will harm other tasks in the process) - in this case, it is obvious that it needs to be either reformulated or excluded.

However, this is a very general and approximate plan for the evaluation; it is definitely better to consider a specific area, approach, type of tasks, etc., this will allow to define more precisely the approach for the evaluation.

Author: Sergey Ulyashenkov