Figuring out what not to do is the most important thing.

We’re at our 12th of #40mantras. And this one is unique in that it suggests not doing something as something that’s valuable – a concept sometimes hard to understand.

At the end of a project, at the end of a month, at the end of a quarter or even at the end of a year, you will often hear me asking the same questions.

Going forward, what will you stop doing?

It’s a strange question that people aren’t always ready for – partially because everyone acts like they’re human doings rather than human beings.

So we rush around trying to do more instead of pausing to reflect so that we can learn from the effort we’ve put in and the results we’ve achieved.

An old mentor and friend who authored several books on decision science noted, after a particularly hard book to write, that if he’d just written a single good sentence every day, it would have taken less time than all the sentences he wrote that he later deleted or rewrote.

In the software development world, we often ask the question “can you do this?” instead of “should we do this?” and the results are often profound when we change the approach to all our efforts.

It’s at that point that I highlight that once we know what we should do, and what we specifically shouldn’t do, most of the hard part is behind us. Then it’s just a matter of execution.

And that’s how we come to our 12th mantra.
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