"A" work or "C" work

On Friday I gave my talk, The Value-added Manager: 5 Pragmatic Practices at the SQUAD Conference in Denver. I had a great time.

One of the practices I cover in my talk is making a to-do list and a not-to-do list and getting clear on priorities. A woman in the audience offered that she also talks in terms of A work, B work and C work… by which she means that in addition to knowing the priority of a project or task, you need to know the quality that’s required.

Most of us group up with adages such as “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” That’s a nice saying, and like most old saws, it leaves out the context.

Sometimes it is worth doing something “right.” Other times 80% “right” is good enough, and the effort and cost required to achieve 100% “right” doesn’t make economic sense.

So along with priority, define what *done* means, and what *good enough* means for the task at hand. A work vs. C work is a nice short hand for the concept: in reality, it’s important to be specific on the desired results.