Want to make the work great? Ask these questions of it.
2 min read

Want to make the work great? Ask these questions of it.

Looking at the work at face value:

  • Four “ayes”: Have at least four (ideally discerning) people (ideally with some expertise or take in the outcome) looked at this and agreed it’s ship-ready?
  • Home page test: If my work ended up on our company homepage, would it fit right in? Would I be proud of it? Am I confident others across the company would be too?
  • The person I admire: If this work got in front of someone I admire (make that person a specific, not generic, person), would I be proud they saw it? Would I be enthusiastic if they assumed the quality of this work representative of the quality of all my work?
  • Point of view: Does my work have a clear perspective? Does it look at least a little different than other work like it?
  • User perspective: Can I speak confidently to what the consumer of this work will think or say once it’s in their hands?
  • The quality bar: Am I clear that this work clears or raises the quality bar? And if I’m not, have I asked for clarification on how to get it there?
  • Papertrails: Where is this documented? If the working group disappeared tomorrow, how would someone else know how to pick the work up?
  • Building organizational context: Where can the rest of the company go to learn more?
  • Succession plans: what happens once it ships?
  • Expert-informed: Who with very deep context or knowledge saw this? What did they say?
  • Peer-informed: Who outside the core working group looked at this? What did they say?
  • User/audience-informed; Who from your target audience has tried this or seen this? What did they say?
  • Data-informed: What did the data say? What would the data dictate?

In the process of getting it here:

  • Knowing the why: Have we built this from first principles? Have I internalized the why behind the what?
  • Escalated appropriately: Have we consulted the appropriate decision-maker for any aspects of my work I wasn’t sure about?
  • Dirt under fingernails: Have we gotten into the weeds on this work to make it great? Can discerning consumers tell which corners are polished?
  • Moving at pace: Can we move things faster? How?
  • Refusal to be blocked: When things that have impeded my progress or speed on the important aspects of this work, have we been relentless about finding ways around them? Have we done so without making any colleagues unreasonably cranky?
  • Self-awareness: Do I know what role we play in this work? Do I know how we can and should participate and contribute (or not!) to the current work and its evolution?
  • Levity: Have we had any fun with this lately? How could we introduce more joy?
  • Sound decisions: How did we make our decisions? How confident are we? What could we do to increase our conviction?
  • Surfacing fears, uncertainties, and doubts: What’s giving us pause? What isn’t working? How would we assuage those feelings?
  • A few choices: What are the discrete options? Why did we choose one over the other?
  • Intuition: What does the gut say? Can you figure out why?
  • Planfulness: How does this fit into our broader goals? Are we doing what we said we’d do?
  • Bringing others along: How were those impacted by this decision, but not included in making it, informed? Are they excited?
  • A model for others: Do ​​I believe my attitude and work product is an example for others at the company? Am I proud of how I show up to my interactions with others? Does it reflect the company’s standards and values?