Whenever you’re producing something, you are probably doing things in batches. You can write one proposal and ship it, or you can write 10 and do everything in one row. Both are batches of work.

This gets more complicated if you’re not doing the work yourself but instead have a couple of others or a complete company work for you. It is tempting to make the chunks of work bigger. You take a little time to come up with a big masterplan, you ship it to the team and after that everyone knows what they have to do for the next couple of months or years.

If you have any experience with building products, you know this is not the approach you’d want to take, because it’s not working. The larger the batch, the less flexible you are. The learnings from the first parts of the batch cannot be applied (don't confuse a company mission with a really detailed blueprint of what needs to be done, the first one is really good, the second one is bad).

The key to fix this is to shrink your batches. That’s it. All the new and fancy methodologies, from scrum and kanban to a Google sprint, they are all helping you to make smaller batches.

Two thoughts:

  • There is always someone around who has a very good reason to make the batch bigger. Don’t fall for it, but instead evaluate if the idea is good enough for the next batch.
  • Batches can almost always get smaller. You just have to figure out a creative way to do it. We’re building a new landing page, and the team decided just to replace it with a couple of images to test things out. That’s a smart way of making the batch smaller.