The Task Machine Gun

It happens all the time. The hallway discussion. The quick chat at lunch. The regularly scheduled meeting. Upon reflection you realize it happens pretty much every time you talk to this person. Every encounter results in a new list of tasks for you to work on.

You've been hit by a Task Machine Gun. It's reason for existence is to spray task bullets all over the place in hopes that a few hit the mark. The Task Machine Gun doesn't feel like it's being productive unless task bullets have flown.

There are many circumstances where the Task Machine Gun is exactly what you need. Take a production line. Each station in the line has been simplified as much as possible. To meet the goal of producing X widgets per hour you basically need a Task Machine Gun to make sure that the simple procedure is executed frequently. These days most of these jobs are done by machine.

Delivering an always available, outrageously scalable set of software services is pretty much the opposite of a production line. The Task Machine Gun in this circumstance can do quite a bit of harm because each task takes on a life of its own that lives long after its reason for being is even remembered.

What do you do when you realize there's a Task Machine Gun loose?

Duck! Figuratively of course.

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