WILY: What've We Got Here?

NYPD Blue, one of my favorite TV shows, just returned to streaming.  As I was watching an episode last night, I realized that the scene in every episode where the uniformed officer runs all of the known details for the detective is a great narrative device to move the story forward and get the viewer invested in the episode. I don't think it was invented by the writers at NYPD Blue and it's in almost every police procedural.  It usually starts something like this:

Detective: What have you got?

Officer:  Neighbor came home to find the deceased's apartment door open.  Peeked his head in and found...

From here everyone is level-set on what they need to continue their work.

The same is true for a quick huddle each morning with your team or hallway conversations with project stakeholders.  The conversation doesn't need to be more than a few minutes and should include:

  • Current status.  Or, what did we accomplish yesterday?
  • What work needs done today?
  • What are our priorities?
  • What are the issues or roadblocks?

After a quick plan to complete the work and clear the obstacles, everyone has the resources, focus, and clarity that they need to complete the day's activities.