We as human beings are wired to take as many shortcuts as possible when it comes to logic and reasoning. Our brains are wired to find patterns and cut corners. You have all seen the viral post where it asks you to read the sentence and the words are all jumbled up right? That demonstrates just how lazy our brains actually are.
You might wonder how the previous relates to the topic of taking full responsibility of a task? I will tell you it is a very crucial part in successfully owning a task or process.
Let me demonstrate with an example. Let’s say as a developer, for instance, you are assinged a task. While reading the description of the task you realize that you will be needing some inputs to successfully code your portion of the task. The inputs seems very easy and straightforward, enough so that you quickly put them out of mind and begin coding your portion. You think “Well whoever wrote this issue obviously knew about the inputs and coded them or has a plan to get them into place”. It is that simple thought, the one that you didn’t value and passed over almost immediately that more often than not, is most crucial.
I speak from experience when I say that it is very easy to fall into this trap. The brain, once again, trying to create as many shortcuts as possible has caused you to glance over a crucial detail merely because it seemed so simplistic and obvious that you didn’t give it enough thought.
This post is about taking full responsibility and that means when you are assigned a task you should commit to it 100% and know the entire life cycle of the task. Take some time up front to get a handle on all expected inputs and outputs. Who will be providing the inputs? What is the expected output? How often will the process be ran and how will the workflow differ between environments? Taking the time upfront to own the task and remove all assumptions will save you much time and error as you begin developing and will safeguard you against those unexpected and embarassing moments when a simple yet crucial piece of the puzzle isn’t implemented on release day.
Learn to treat all thoughts as you review the assigned task as relevant and valid questions. Even if something seems obvious, make a note of it and discuss with management just to make sure you are all on the same page. You will probably fall into this trap many times before you begin to notice it and awknowledge it. Just remain vigilant and remember to take time up front reviewing and acknowledging every thought. Even if it is a simple portion of the process, allocate enough brain time to flesh out all the details.