Introduction\n\nGoing through life, we have many tasks that we have to complete. Sometimes there are numerous activities waiting for us in a single day which can take up a lot of our time 🙈, and if we don't keep track, they can snowball into an unmanageable situation! It can be an amazing feeling to tick off our tasks, especially those which are longstanding and have required so much time and effort to complete, where seeing the contents of our to do list reducing giving us hope of a brighter tomorrow 😂.\n\nBut what about those tasks that quite simply REFUSE to be completed no matter how hard we try? You know the ones I mean 😅! Those activities that ALWAYS seen like there's more to do even when you've seemingly done everything you can up until that point. Those tasks that ultimately test your patience and your ability to stifle audible frustrated groans 😫!\n\nLet's take the time to explore these further.\n\nLady frustrated that her (supposedly) finished we isn't yet done\n\nLike a Creep\n\nI'm sure we've all been there. You've spent a long time producing a piece of work allocated to you, where you've poured your heart and soul into it and complete that all important milestone for checking. Even though you are content with receiving corrections, you are subsequently informed that FAR more work is needed due to previously unknown, untold or even changing (increasing) scope 😫. Suddenly questions start running through your head:\n\nWhere did this extra scope come from?\n\nWhen was this increased scope decided?\n\nWhy wasn't I involved with the change in scope?\n\nWhy am I only being told about the increased scope AFTER I finished?\n\nDo people hate me?\n\nIt totally flattens you 😖, and comes out of nowhere like a well disguised slap to the face (ouch painful)! If you're lucky, you only get one of these stages, your subsequent response with all those extra hours totalling (out even surpassing) the initial submission is accepted and you can finally bask in that feeling of being finished. If you are unlucky however, you will likely face many cycles of this which will test the limits of your patience and maybe even your sanity. The more cycles you face, the worse you feel and you can even get to the point where you don't think that the work will ever be finished and that your submission will yield more changes. Things can become a bit defeatist.\n\nMan in a suit distressed that his submitted task needs MORE work!\n\nThis is a horrible mindset to fall into, and can lead to feelings of incompetence and worthlessness if not managed correctly. As timescales slip and reporting becomes more tense, tensions can rise and this must be dealt with as soon as possible to ensure there is no lasting damage to the individual(s) involved along with the package of work affected. Not only does it affect people, but budgets can be strained, timescales can slip and dependent work can go into limbo. Not the most fun of projects to be involved with 😖!\n\nAddressing the Problem(s) Head On\n\nNever ending work is not fun, which is why it is important that we formalise our definition of 'Done', agree the scope that 'Done' encompasses ahead of time. Most importantly of all, WE MUST STICK TO THE SCOPE that has been agreed and refuse any creep. Write it all down, ensure that all stakeholders have visibility and manage expectations accordingly. Do not allow "just" this and "could you do" that to be added no matter how much you want people to be happy. These requests whilst seemingly very small, add up very quickly and can make work very difficult to complete, especially when it means having to rework a lot of what has come before. You are actually doing your stakeholders a favour, something that I've explored before in a previous article:\n\nThe Client Isn't Always Right Which is Why they Ask For Your Help\n\nWhen agreeing what being delivered, it is important to be as SPECIFIC as you possibly can. I like to think that (pretty much) everyone wants to deliver what is expected of them (if not why did you bring them in) so create an environment where this is cultivated. Keep your packages of work SMART and ensure that these elements are communicated throughout delivery:\n\n[S] = Specific, where what is required is CLEARLY defined (e.g. content, analysis etc).\n\n[M] = Measurable, where progress can be easily determined (e.g. chapters in a report).\n\n[A] = Achievable, where what has been agreed can actually be done (get input from the experts, don't guesstimate).\n\n[R] = Relevant, where what is delivered is actually needed and fits into the grand plan.\n\n[T] = Time-Bound, when it's done, it's done by a particular moment in time.\n\nA SMART plan can help create an environment where everyone knows what they are doing\n\nRemember, once your definition of 'Done' has been SMARTly agreed, stick to the scope and don't allow for new elements to creep into work that has already been agreed. Push back, and ensure that ANY additions are part of new packages of work. This helps you to keep to your timescales, your budget and prevent unknown variables from dropping out of the sky to ruin your day 😂!\n\nOnce 'Done' has been agreed, I recommend borrowing elements from the Agile methodology, where you can do a bit of the work and put it in front of the required stakeholders early on for guidance and feedback. Many people seem to find it more difficult to abstractly tell you what they want (i.e. before work is started), than looking at something tangible that has been produced and tell you what they don't like about it 🙈! Nightmare! But instead of letting this get you down, use this knowledge to your advantage. Get something in front of people early and use regular feedback to iterate regularly to your result. Don't wait until the end to find out you took a wrong turn along the way 😂!\n\nI've actually written before about Agile in a non-buzzwordy manner, and recommend you check the article out for more information!\n\nEmbracing an Agile Methodology and Responding with Agility\n\nLady relaxing by the sea knowing that her work can be completed without countless additions\n\nLet's Get Our Work Done!\n\nWork that seemingly never ends can be detrimental to to the people involved, as well as the project it is being delivered under. As well as being a huge test of patience, it can end up straining all resources and lead to a very difficult atmosphere. To counteract this, it is paramount that we agree our definition of 'Done' so that everyone knows where they stand, and STICK to it so that progress can be easily measured. We can also move to more regular delivery and feedback to ensure we are always moving in the t direction. By doing this, we can create an environment that allows us to get the job done 😎.\n\nTake care and all the best, Si.