Small steps are better than big steps

Small steps let you steer in the right direction more easily, and correct your course if you head in the wrong direction. They are easier to stop and to step back from if they are wrong. They carry less complexity and fewer dependencies. They are easier to get into a rhythm with and to stay motivated.

More and more we are seeing ways of working heading towards smaller and smaller pieces of work. Gee Paw Hill, an early adopter of Extreme Programming and Agile software development, talks about Many More Much Smaller Steps as the route to creating lasting change. James Clear writes in Atomic Habits about the compounding effects of hundreds of small decisions or habits that accumulate over time to produce remarkable results. Lots of people recognise the benefits of small steps in all kinds of contexts.

How might we use the idea of working in smaller and smaller increments? Ask ourselves; what’s the smallest version of this thing I’m doing? Rather than writing a document before getting any other eyes on it, write the outline and share that for feedback. Smaller? Express the purpose of the document in a sentence or two and send it in a chat message for feedback.