Ten reasons to take babysteps…

One way to gain trust in people, is to gradually give them more responsibility. By splitting work up in very small steps, that is possible. There are actually lots of reasons to work in babysets.

My friend Pascal says, if its hard to do, do more of it.
My partner says to our kids: chew smaller pieces (of meat).

In babysteps multiple dynamics come together:

  1. When the work is smaller, the problems are smaller.  Joshua Kierevsky launched the limited red society in 2010. He wants people to do TTD and refactoring in smaller steps. The idea behind it is to keep the time of a none working project as small as possible.  As part of his e-learning course, they offer a tool that graphically shows when people are in the red.
  2. One interesting observation they saw was that people that are less in the red, usually end up with nicer designs.
  3. People that achieve a series of small steps, gain more confidence than people that do everything in one step. When I try to achieve one big goal I encounter a lot of problems, I only have a feeling of achievement at the end. (While trying I actually am frustrated most of the time)
    When I do something with small steps, I achieve one goal after another. Like with tdd where I implement one test after another.
  4. At the end of the day I actually feel I have done something (implemented x tests).==>  I gain confidence.
  5. Its easier for other people to see what I am doing.
  6. With babystep not only is what I am doing visible. It also shows my real progress.
  7. Because all the sub-steps are visible, they can congratulate me on specific actions. When they are specific in their congratulations, I tend to believe them more thus trust them more.
  8. When the direction I am going is wrong, people have the option to give me feedback (not possible if they only see work when my work is done after a few days)
  9. Depending how the work is splitted, other people might have the options to help me. When I do everything in one large chunk that is never possible. This way people see me less as the hero, but the work gets done.
  10. Not only can they help me, it is also possible for people to take over when my priorities change. (Both  personal or company driven priorities)

Update: Or like Peter Sims from TC says Don’t bet big.