LATE – Directors Cut

The LATE methodology was developed to keep sane in a world of ever increasing demands on one’s time.  The methodology is not a magic bullet, it will cost you a bit of time and requires some discipline.  Nevertheless, the benefits vastly outweigh the benefits. Feel free to access the article from the Financial Management Institute’s Website, (copyright restrictions apply).  Over time, some ideas I want to explore regarding the LATE methodology are as follows:

  • Is the technology scalable beyond a small team, is there an Enterprise solution in TASKING?
  • How little or how much technology is enough to get started in TASKING?
  • How well does a TASK list transfer to another manager either one familiar or unfamiliar with the methodology?
  • What do my former peers and employees think about it 1, 2 and 10 years later?  Are any of them using the methodology or was this a one-TASK-wonder on my part?

Some of the comments I have received are noted below with my response.  Credit for the question is provided for those who will claim the effort for the professional development (see my blog, Writing as a Team Sport).

1. Who is the CLIENT and How is this Defined (Shakeeb):

  • When defining an Issue/Task the following format is used:
  • Without a definition, the ‘client’ can be subjective.
    • One person may consider the client to be a division, another may consider the client to be the ministry, a third may consider it to be a branch – all for the same task.
  • Is there value in investing time in clarifying client definitions – definitely saves time later on when looking for a past task.
  • Frank’s Response:
    • Consistency is always good and here are my roles of thumb:
    • Client should equal who will receive or benefit from the issue being resolved or task being completed.
    • Tasks that benefit a whole organization (company, Ministry, etc.) are labeled at that level rather than according to a sub-unit asking for the information on behalf of the organization.  Thus Human Resources may ask for a head count for the Minister (or CEO) but the client is the Ministry (or company) rather than Human Resources.
    • When in doubt, define a methodology and stick with it… until something better comes along.  Remember that Documentation is a Waste of Time – until the moment you need it.

2. How Much Content Should be Displayed in the Weekly Summary (Shakeeb)?

  • The presentation to the team is a reverse-chronologically ordered list of what has occurred relative to the TASK.
  • The weekly summary list can quickly become quite long and possibly less relevant for TASK open for a number of months.
  • Frank’s Response:
    • For TASKS open but with out a lot of activity, the size of the list can be reduced by indicating an ‘Ongoing’ time frame that may span a number of weeks.
    • There are technical limitations in only displaying the current week’s activities while maintaining the historical record.  These limitations are not insurmountable but are surprisingly knotty.
    • My inclination is to live with the longer list which I have found is referenced a surprising amount of time.

3. Side Bar, Organizing your Network Drive: which is better, more folders or more files within a folder (Shakeeb)?

  • Is it better to create new folders to hold function or to have more files within a single folder?
  • Frank’s response:
    • I agree with Shakeeb that too many folders makes it difficult to scan the drive to find what you are looking for.
    • My first rule of thumb is information should appear on about 1 but no more than 2 computer screens worth of real estate.  This means ideally 20’ish and no more than about 50 things in anyone one container (e.g. within a folder or sub-folders pointing to a parent folder).
    • My second rule of thumb is that ideally everything is within 3 and definitely less than 6 levels from the fiscal year top.  In the simplified example provided, most were within 2 levels.



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