Thursday, May 17, 2007

Low Hanging Fruit - The beginning

With all of the blogs out there, how can I justify one more? Isn't there enough chatter in the Blog-ozone for everyone as it is? Well, in an attempt to justify my blog's existence, let me start with a short story:

One of the neat things I've learned in my career is the concept of Low Hanging Fruit, or LHF for you acronym junkies. The idea behind LHF is simple enough: Start with tasks that are quick and easy to complete and have a significant payoff. The operative question is "If I can only get one hour (day/week/whatever) of work done, what should I spend it on?". I've found that focusing on this concept helps me avoid both over-complex projects that will never see the light of day (not quick and easy) and time-wasting busy work (low payoff).

Fast-forward a few weeks. The kids and I were working on getting the house straightened up to surprise Mom, and one of them had decided it would be a good time to reorganize her crayons. I couldn't correct her for not working on the house, but she wasn't making any progress. In an attempt to redirect her efforts without having to give her step-by-step instructions, I broke out the jargon.

"Why don't you focus on the low-hanging fruit?"
"But there isn't any food to pick up." She can be very literal.
"It's a figure of speech. It means to look for easy things that make a big difference."

She's also very smart, so she got the idea immediately and identified a blanket that needed to be folded as the LHF, this was followed by some toys, clothes, etc. In a (relatively) short amount of time, a lot of the clutter was cleared up and the improvements were immediately obvious.

This modest success made me wonder what else, outside of work, would benefit from a LHF approach. For that matter, what were some other techniques and ideas that I kept in my "Career" tool box and never put to use elsewhere. This blog is simply a collection of my good, bad, and ugly thoughts along those lines. Please feel free to give me any adjusting or affirming feedback you may have*, and your thoughts are always welcome.

*within the bounds of common decency. We're adults here, as long as we act like it..

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