Allow me to apply the wisdom of one article – How to Stop Procrastinating by James Clear – to ScrumOfOne, specifically the building of a Product Backlog. James recommends using the power of the ‘2-Minute Rule’, which has two parts. He starts the article with a reassuring introduction:
Most of the tasks that you procrastinate on aren’t actually difficult to do — you have the talent and skills to accomplish them — you just avoid starting them for one reason or another.
Part 1 – If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.
Think about the list of stuff on your to-do list / personal backlog… can some of them be banged out in a couple of minutes? For me, some of them actually can! Visualizing their realistic ability to be completed while an 800m sprint is taking place is motivating.
Part 2 – When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.
Alright, how about things that take longer than a footrace? Well, much like a footrace, it starts with
risking your own beheading as you try to win the heart of the fastest female mortal in all the land the first step. It starts with… starting.
So, back to your backlog… can you start some of those items in a couple of minutes? For me, these larger items seem more manageable knowing that I can get some momentum with a time-boxed amount of focus.
I like this exercise (“Can I do this, or at least get started, in two minutes?“) when thinking about the size of stories, as a factor for determining points (as an estimate of effort). If a story is too large by this measure, might it be too large to drag into a Sprint?
So there: now you only have to focus and really work for two minutes! Momentum carries you the rest of the way, and the things on your Sprint Backlog just got easier. All the things.