Change “We Should” to “I will”

A couple of weeks ago Pete Houghton on twitter posted an article “Just Ban Just“.   What I really enjoyed about this article was the phrase “Just create an automated testing framework…” and Pete cautioned about the dangers of how trivial complex tasks can be made to seem when statements like that happen in meetings.

Michael Sahota taught me this trick, stop using the word “should” and I found that the message stuck.  “Should” is the easiest way to removing all sense of responsibility for your actions or team conclusions.  When I hear a team member say “we should do X”, often the rest of the team nods and nothing gets done.  I just caught myself doing this.

A team member sent around a list of great testing webinars that are coming up and I started to reply via email: “That’s awesome, we should sign up for the xxxx…..

I stopped myself before sending.

I decided to register for it and changed my reply to “I will sign us up for session xxx and I will be in the open space area with the projector for anyone who is able to join.

Amazing how something so simple can be so effective.    “Should” is often used with the best intentions, however that word doesn’t lend itself to creating actionable output.  Change “Should” to “I will” or if you’re not able to take action, change “Should” to  “Can you…” and ask for help.